A Wildwood, Florida native and 2015 Wildwood Middle High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile cruiser, USS Chancellorsville.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Dwayne Grider is an operations specialist aboard the forward deployed Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Chancellorsville is one of three cruisers forward-deployed in Yokosuka. A Navy operations specialist is responsible for operating the communications, radar, and navigation equipment that tracks ships, aircraft, and enemy missiles and then communicates tactical information to supervisors and other operators.
“There was a teacher in high school who would give me advice on life experiences and I’m realizing now that it has helped prepare me for the Navy,” said Grider.
With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats. Forward-deployed sailors are crucial to the success of the global Navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.
“My cousin served in the Army and seeing him succeed inspired me to follow the same path because he and I were going through the same situations in life,” said Grider.
“Because of my experiences serving in the Navy I have become a more well-rounded person,” added Grider. “I received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for volunteering at a local hospital here in Japan which motivates me to do even more to help people.”
A Navy cruiser is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns, and a phalanx close-in weapons system.
Sailors play a vital role in the overall military mission around the world.
Story by Mass Communication Specialist Robert Zahn, Navy Office of Community Outreach. Photo By Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Ward.