Elizabethton sailor serves aboard Navy warship homeported in Pearl Harbor

Published 7:31 pm Thursday, April 26, 2018

An Elizabethton native and 2013 Hampton High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Halsey.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Gleason Church is a fire controlman aboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy fire controlman is responsible for maintaining the computer networking systems used to guide ships defense systems.

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“Being humble when working with other people helps you to learn, and be successful in the Navy,” said Church.

More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring dedication and skill, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times.

Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide credible combat power, at and from the sea.

“Our sailors in Pearl Harbor are doing an excellent job at warfighting and supporting the warfighter,” said Cmdr. Hurd, chief staff officer, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “Historically, Pearl Harbor is a symbolic base of sacrifice and resiliency. Today, on every Navy ship and shore facility’s flag pole, the First Navy Jack, ‘Don’t Tread on Me,’ flies reminding sailors to move forward and build on the history and legacy of this country and the U.S. Navy.”

Navy guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission ships that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea, Navy officials explained. They are equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew. The crew is motivated, and can quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills. Serving aboard a guided-missile destroyer instills accountability and toughness and fosters initiative and integrity.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Church, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Church is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“Two cousins and great-uncle served in the military but I decided to join on my own,” said Church.

Church is also proud of earning a Letter of Appreciation for volunteering for community church events in Great Lakes in 2016.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Church and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I am proud to serve in the Navy,” added Church. “I can help provide a safer world for people to pursue their dreams.”