Petty Officer 1st Class Rachael Konefal, a native of Trevose, serves the U.S. Navy assigned to Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group operating out of Will
Konefal graduated in 2015 from Neshaminy High School. Konefal also earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Liberty University in 2021. The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Trevose.
“Growing up in Trevose, I learned the value of a close-knit community,” said Rachael. “Everyone in my neighborhood took care of each other, even though we weren’t family. This played a huge role in developing my leadership style in the Navy. I think just having neighbors around has helped. You move there and don’t know each other, but you still take care of each other. That’s how it is in the Navy.”
Rachael joined the Navy seven years ago. Today, she serves as a logistics specialist.
“I joined the Navy to complete college debt-free,” said Rachael. “I wanted to immerse myself in different cultures by traveling. I was in college before in Pennsylvania and I had an intercultural communications class. I thought it was silly to be in a classroom learning about it instead of doing it.”
Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, headquartered in Williamsburg, Virginia, is made up of more than 3,300 personnel assigned to three regiments and seven battalions across the United States.
Its mission is to deliver worldwide expeditionary logistics with active and reserve personnel to provide a wide range of supply and transportation support critical for peacetime efforts, crisis response, humanitarian and combat service missions.
Serving in the Navy means Rachael is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy has a strong presence all over the world, aside from just surface warfare, that helps maintain domestic and international relations,” said Rachael. “I think a lot of people, besides surface warfare, think the Navy is only on the water, but it’s more than that. We have an expeditionary force that covers land rather than sea and aviation units in the air. We have a lot of units that do different things.”
With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.
Rachael has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.
“I’m most proud of completing my college degree and receiving a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal in August,” said Rachael. “I received the medal for completing over 200 volunteer hours in my community. I did online tutoring for underprivileged children and adults with St. Marks Education Center and a company called UPchieve. I also volunteered as a cheerleading coach for Virginia All-Stars in Norfolk.”
As Rachael and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.
“Serving in the Navy gives me a sense of camaraderie,” said Rachael. “I also get a sense of pride. I’m doing more for myself and also for everybody than if I’d just gone to college and found a regular job.”
Rachael is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.
“I want to thank my husband, Eric Swann,” added Rachael. “He’s always supported me through everything the Navy puts us through and pushes me to achieve higher goals. I also want to thank my mom and stepdad, Susan and Mike Barbacano, and my dad, Jeff Konefal. They always come to visit me no matter where I am and they always help me move.”
PHOTO CAP: Petty Officer 1st Class Rachael Konefal