Suitland native serves aboard guided-missile destroyer in Pearl Harbor
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — A 2010 Potomac High School graduate and Suitland native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Chung-Hoon.
Seaman Marcus Cunningham is a yeoman aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burkeclass guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
A Navy yeoman is responsible for the administration and personnel management of all 337 people on the ship.
“I get to work with the whole ship,” Cunningham said. “I love the customer service part of the job. We make sure sailors are able to get the right training to advance their careers.”
Chung-Hoon measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve more than 30 mph in open seas.
According to Navy officials, destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.
“Our Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific guided-missile destroyers are poised, trained, equipped and ready to deploy forward and support the Fleet,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “Working with friends and allies, our MIDPAC sailors provide sea control, advance maritime security, enhance regional stability, and foster continued prosperity in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”
Approximately 30 offi- cers and 300 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines and handling weaponry to washing dishes and preparing meals.
“It’s a close mesh ship, so everybody knows everybody,” said Cunningham. “We play football, each ship has a team. We were on deployment last year, so we’ll see how we do. Our first game is Saturday.”
Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
“Serving in the Navy means a lot,” said Cunningham. “My mother served in the Navy and my father in the Army, so it’s an opportunity to continue in the family tradition.”
Seaman Marcus Cunningham