Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Meet the Crew: LaDeirdre Forehand, Able Seaman

A woman in a hard hat aboard a NOAA ship

What is your role at NOAA and what do you do?

I am an Able Seaman on NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. I operate the telescopic and knuckle booms when needed. These are used to move anything that can’t be carried by hand to various areas on the ship. I also have daily sanitation tasks, forklift duties, and routine maintenance in my department. I participate in all training opportunities and drills as well.

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida.

Where did you get your training and experience before joining NOAA? 

I attended Bluewater Maritime School in Jacksonville. There, I learned general maritime skills like navigational skills, knot tying, watch-standing, various safety drills, safety procedures, emergency training, line handling, small boat handling, anchors, operation of deck equipment, and communications.

What inspired you to work for NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations?

NOAA is a great agency and I heard a lot of great things about it. So when the opportunity presented itself in 2023, I applied and I’m forever grateful that I did.

What was one of your favorite missions or experiences?

On NOAA Ship Nancy Foster we are all like one big happy family. We all just get each other. If someone falls short we all pick up the slack. One band, one sound. So every mission thus far has been a great learning experience and I’m just happy to be a part of the team.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work for NOAA? 

Be consistent and always be prepared for the unexpected. Always be willing to learn and embrace every opportunity given to you.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month means a lot to me because I work in a predominantly male industry.  Not too many women I know would ever consider working in this industry, but I want to change that. I'm very active on my social media platforms and I encourage women to come see what I do on a daily basis. I never thought that I would be a Merchant Mariner who operates a crane daily. That still feels unreal at times but I take every opportunity to learn and be better than yesterday. This is my career and I absolutely love it. There are good and bad days, but I keep going. I stand on business when it comes to my profession. I like to say I am "NOAA Strong."