YOKOSUKA, Japan — Petty Officer 3rd Class Christina Harrell is an interior communications specialist aboard the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), living and working at the Navy’s forward-deployed base south of Tokyo.
The Fitzgerald operates out of Yokosuka, which is located approximately 35 miles south of Tokyo and accommodates the United States’ furthest forward-deployed naval forces.
An Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Fitzgerald is 505 feet long or more than 1 1/2 football fields. The ship is 66 feet wide, weighs more than 9,200 tons, and its four gas turbine engines can push the ship through the ocean at nearly 35 miles per hour. The ship is named in honor of Lt. William Charles Fitzgerald, who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism on August 7, 1967 in Vietnam.
Harrell said she is proud to serve her country aboard a destroyer in Japan. She added that it is an exciting time to be in the military, and serving in the world’s greatest Navy.
“My job is similar to an electrician, but I deal with anything that makes noise like alarms, telephones or speakers,” said Harrell.
Harrell also said she is proud of the work she is doing as part of the Fitzgerald’s 300-member crew, living thousands of miles from home, and protecting America on the world’s oceans.
“I enjoy how close the Fitzgerald crew is; it’s literally a family, no one can mess with another crew member,” said Harrell.
“Fitzgerald Sailors represent every state in the union as well as a diversity of ethnicities. It is an honor to lead and serve with the finest Sailors the nation has to offer,” said Cmdr. Chris England, the ship’s commanding officer. “These Sailors should be justifiably proud of their accomplishments — a direct reflection of their dedication to mission accomplishment, motivation, and commitment to the Navy.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile combat ships, Harrell and other Fitzgerald Sailors understand they are part of a forward-deployed team that is heavily relied upon to help protect and defend America across the world’s oceans.
Harrell is a 2012 Woodside High School graduate and Newport News, Virginia native.
“During my time in the Navy I have met so many people and done things that people back home would never do,” said Harrell. “For example, I jumped off a warship in the middle of the ocean just to go swimming.”
Approximately 40 officers and 260 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the $2 billion-dollar destroyer running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas. With multi-mission capabilities in surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, ballistic missile defense, and humanitarian assistance, Arleigh Burke destroyers excel as the Navy’s premier fighting warship.
Ensign Tieara Daniels is the first lieutenant aboard the Fitzgerald. She is a 2008 Landstown High School graduate and hails from Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Daniels said she is proud to serve her country aboard a destroyer in Japan.
“I supervise Sailors responsible for the overall upkeep of the ship,” said Daniels. “Working with the Sailors that volunteer to leave home to work in such a fast-paced, forward-deployed environment is an honor. The Navy has given me the opportunity to lead and develop my skills. I have enjoyed the travel the Navy has afforded me.”
Hailing from Chesapeake, Virginia, Lt. j.g. James Montoya is the training officer aboard the Fitzgerald.
“I am responsible for maximizing the training efficiency aboard the ship. I get a deep sense of purpose and satisfaction from training Sailors,” said Montoya. “I am thankful that being stationed aboard the ship gives me the opportunity to live and work in Japan.”
Assigned to U.S. Seventh Fleet, Fitzgerald Sailors are continuously on watch throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, acting as America’s first responders in that part of the world.
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