BEAUMONT, Calif. — At 28 years old, United States Navy LT Laurel Gill (La Jolla, California) is a Meteorology Oceanography Officer and one of the most accomplished women you will ever meet.
She graduated from the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Oceanography and a minor in French. After earning her degree, Gill spent nearly three years attending flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas.
In 2013, however, Gill moved on from that path. She found herself at the Fleet Weather Center in San Diego, Calif., where she started as a Division Officer before moving up to a Strike Group Oceanography Deputy Department Head. After six years on active duty, Gill is still a Deputy Department Head, only currently assigned to the Naval Meteorology Oceanography Reserve Activity 1994.
“Seeing my Sailors get promoted, or receive an award is the best part of my job,”said Gill. “They all work really hard and I love to see when they get rewarded.”
So, what is it Gill does exactly?
“The Meteorology Oceanography community delivers timely, accurate data and forecasts to the Navy since every mission is affected by the ocean, or weather,” Gill said.
On top of all those impressive accomplishments, Gill is also very passionate about the game of golf. She is the top female golfer in the U.S. Navy and founded the USNA women’s golf team in 2008. It started out as a form of recreation, then turned into a club before making its way to the Division I varsity sport level in 2012.
“I feel that was my biggest accomplishment relating to golf,” said Gill, who was a medalist at the 2017 Navy Golf Championship and also won the bronze medal at the 2017 World Military Golf Championships in Sri Lanka. “I put a lot of work into finding a coach, getting enough players and raising money. It’s something that has had a lasting impact and given more women the opportunity to play golf at the collegiate level.”
A captain of the USNA golf team from 2008-2011, Gill is also a member of the U.S. Armed Forces golf team and U.S. Navy golf team. Ask her and she will tell you about the difference between the Navy and USNA (it’s common sense, really).
In the field for the 3rd annual IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa as a sponsor exemption from the Insurance Office of America (IOA), Gill said receiving the opportunity to play in her first professional event is a dream come true.
“I’ve been playing golf since I was little. My mom always made sure I was signed up for lessons in the summer and my dad would take me to the range to hit balls,” Gill said. “I take my golf very seriously, so I’ve been putting in a lot of time practicing, from rolling a lot of putts to hitting a lot of balls. My game is really progressing and I’m hoping to do well in the tournament.”
Between the golf and responsibilities of protecting this great nation, it’s hard to imagine how she has balanced everything, but Gill continually found a way to make it all work.
“Time management,” said Gill. “One of the roughest times was when I was on a watch bill, where we had to work at 5:30 a.m. until (around) 6:30 p.m., so I would workout from 4-5 a.m., then go to work and hit balls after. Or, I would get off the overnight shift at 6 a.m. and go play golf after that. Looking back, it was kind of crazy.”
It may have been, but the patience and determination has led Gill to where she is today. With a great chance to develop her game even further this week at the IOA Championship, Gill continues to take steps toward a new, exciting journey.
“I’m working hard and hopefully one day I can play professionally,” Gill said. “Perseverance and hard work will create opportunities to achieve your dreams. Never give up!”