By Kayla Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach
SAN DIEGO – A 2012 Dover High School graduate and Dover, Delaware native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Milius.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Malpass is an operations specialist aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of San Diego, California.
A Navy operations specialist is responsible for keeping track of radar contacts, which can be anything from ships to whales.
“I enjoy the communication aspects of this job,” said Malpass. “Everyone has to work together to get the mission done, so the teamwork is very important part of the job.”
Commissioned in November of 1996, Milius measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. 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.
“Leading Milius sailors is exceptionally rewarding because they genuinely care for one another as people,” said Cmdr. Gil Ayan, commanding officer of USS Milius. “They want to see one another succeed and each of them works toward that collective goal. As a commanding officer, you can’t ask for a better culture than that.”
With a crew of over 300 sailors, jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
“I like the morale and camaraderie aboard this ship,” said Malpass. “It's such a small ship so everyone pretty much knows each other. We are all pretty close.”
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.
“Being in the Navy means that I am serving my country,” added Malpass. “It has opened great opportunities to me like travel and the benefits that it provides. I have met people that I never could have met otherwise.”