South Florida Native Sails Home as Captain of Navy Warship

Steve Shinego says he has the best job in the world

By Ari Odzer
|  Friday, Nov 16, 2012  |  Updated 8:31 PM EDT
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U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Shinego grew up in Hallandale.

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South Florida Native Sails Home as Captain of Navy Warship

U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Shinego sailed into Miami on Friday on the USS Philippine Sea. Shinego, who grew up in Hallandale, spoke about his ship, his roots, and coming full circle.

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The USS Philippine Sea sailed into Miami on Friday with a South Florida native at the helm.

"If you ask folks if they have the best job in the world, I would tell you their answer might be yes, and they're welcome to compete for second place,” U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Shinego said.

Shinego, who grew up in Hallandale, seems born to command a warship.

"I am responsible and accountable for this ship. It's a $1.5 billion asset, taxpayer-owned,” he said in an interview on deck. “We do carry a lot of weapons on board."

He rattled off the ship’s capabilities and its multiple missions, which include anti-air warfare, ballistic missile defense and anti-submarine warfare.

The Navy has a lot of ships, but the USS Philippine Sea was recently chosen for a special honor: to dispose of the remains of an American hero, astronaut Neil Armstrong.

"The ceremony was so dignified and professional and really beautiful,” Shinego said.

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You could say Capt. Shinego is an ambassador for the Navy – but he never forgets his humble roots.

"Five children, 1100-square-foot house in the northwest corner of Hallandale,” he said. “It meant something when we were growing up if you lived west of the Intracoastal, and it meant something if you said you lived west of U.S. 1, and you surely knew it meant something if you lived west of Dixie Highway. We lived far west of Dixie Highway."

Shinego says there's a way to succeed no matter where you come from.

"It's there if you want it, you just have to want to study, you have to want to do your best,” he said.

Shinego did. He got an ROTC scholarship to the University of Florida, and landed on the same ship he now leads.

"I served 44 months on this ship from 1988 to 1992. The poetry of coming full circle back again as the commanding officer has been fun, and has been a pleasure. It has been a goal, once I decided to stay in the Navy,” he said. “But there’s no place I would rather be than right here with this crew."

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