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Picayune native serves aboard ship that honors World War II Admiral

SAN DIEGO – A 2005 Picayune Memorial High School graduate and Picayune, Mississippi, native is serving aboard the WWII namesake warship, USS Spruance.

Petty Officer 1st Class Monquiel Massey is a gas turbine systems technician (mechanical) aboard the San Diego based ship, a guided missile destroyer.

As a gas turbine systems technician (mechanical), Massey is responsible for operating, repairing and performing organizational and intermediate maintenance on mechanical components of gas turbine engines, main propulsion machinery including gears, shafts and controllable pitch propellers; and assigned auxiliary equipment and propulsion control systems.

More than 300 Sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. 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, according to Navy officials.

Massey has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

“A lot of people don’t make it out my town,” said Massey. “When I made it out I wanted to show them that a person can make it out and its possible to succeed and stay driven and treat others with respect no matter the rank.”

Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are about 510 feet long and can be armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems. Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently, as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups.

Spruance is armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter threats to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and ballistic missiles.

It was commissioned in 2011 and named after Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. He was a key naval commander during WWII, leading U.S. naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took place in the Pacific Theatre: Battle of Midway and Battle of the Philippine Sea. He later served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.

At Midway, Spruance scored the first major victory for the United States over Japan; generally considered to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

“USS Spruance is responsible for 22 mission areas, with 350 people onboard each Sailor actively supports multiple missions, said Cmdr. Joshua Menzel, commanding officer of Spruance.

“As a member of the Pacific Fleet, the crew of USS SPRUANCE patrol the same waters and trains to perform the same missions as the Sailors Admiral Spruance commanded during WWII.”

Massey has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My brother and wife is the Navy,” Massey said. “I want to set a positive family tradition for my son and nephews to follow. If college is not for them then there are other options like joining the military and gaining some independence.”

Massey’s proudest accomplishment was aiding his entire engine room to obtain their Enlisted Surface Warfare Qualification. As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Massey and other Spruance sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“Serving in the Navy gives me pride in my country and protecting their first amendment, I love fighting for others who cant fight for themselves,” said Massey.


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