Thursday, April 28, 2016

Eddystone, Pa. native serving aboard U.S. Navy destroyer

By Kayla Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach

SAN DIEGO – A 2003 Ridley High School graduate and Eddystone, Pennsylvania native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Milius.

Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Vickers is a culinary specialist aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of San Diego, California.

As a Navy culinary specialist he is responsible for the cooks in the food service division ensuring all meals are prepared on time and properly.

I enjoy the food preparation aspect of my job,” said Vickers. “I have a passion for food. If I weren't in the Navy I would probably be a chef, so it's a great opportunity to still do what I am passionate about.”

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.

This command is a whole new experience for me,” said Vickers. “Before this I was on a carrier and an amphib which are huge crews. The camaraderie aboard smaller ships is one of the best things I have experienced in the Navy.”

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.

“Serving in the Navy gives me a sense of pride,” added Vickers. “Being a part of the military is something my grandfather did, so I am able to carry on that tradition. I take pride in knowing that.”