A 2013 Mount Gilead High School graduate and village native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Chung-Hoon.

Fireman Wade Hawk works in the engineering department aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

“I like electrical work,” said Hawk. “It’s a hands on job, and there’s just a sense of pride that when you turn on a system or hook up something, and seeing it work.”

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 officers 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.

“This is my first command, but everybody seems to really help each other out,” said Hawk. “If you need help, there’s always help around.”

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.

“I wanted to do something different and meaningful with my life, and I knew this would set me up for success and see the world,” said Hawk. “Being able to serve my country gives me a sense of pride. The support you get from family and friends when you come home is really nice.”