By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller, Navy Office of Community Outreach
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM – A 2014 Billerica Memorial graduate and Billerica, Massachusetts native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS John Paul Jones.
Seaman Brian Bassett is an operations specialist aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
A Navy operations specialist is responsible for the identification and tracking of air, surface and subsurface contacts around the ship.
“I love going out to sea, and being a part of keeping the ship safe,” said Bassett. “It’s a very unique job, because we’re a test platform for new missiles and weapons systems, so it’s a great place to learn.”
John Paul Jones, 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 cruiser running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines and handling weaponry to washing dishes and preparing meals.
“The morale on the ship is very high,” said Bassett. “Everybody is really positive, and welcoming. Always down to help me learn my job, and lend a hand to get the job done.”
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.
“The Navy means protecting my family, my friends and my country, and giving them the right to stand up for what they believe in,” said Bassett. “It’s a great feeling.”