Miami native Petty Officer Third Class Dennis Rodriguez is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Chung Hoon.
Rodriguez is an interior communications electrician aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. A Navy interior communications electrician is responsible for replacing equipment that is in need of repair.
“I enjoy the diversity of my job,” Rodriguez said. “The people that I work with make my job easier to handle. We all help each other out when needed.”
USS 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 ship running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines and handling weaponry to washing dishes and preparing meals.
“Surfing is a passion,” Rodriguez said. “It is an activity that I enjoy while I am off-duty in Hawaii. The aloha spirit and welcoming manner here makes you feel as though you are part of their Hawaiian family.”
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 joined the Navy to give back to my country and uphold the high standards that I believe we represent,” Rodriguez said.