Suit­land na­tive serves aboard guided-mis­sile de­stroyer in Pearl Har­bor

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By LT. CMDR. DAVID DAITCH, Navy Of­fice of Com­mu­nity Out­reach

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

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