Carriere native serves aboard one of the U.S. Navy’s first “Stealth Ships"
BATH, Maine – A 2015 Pearl River High School graduate and Carriere, Mississippi, native is serving as part of the Pre-Commissioning Unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).
Petty Officer 2nd Class Olivia Nettles is a sonar technician assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine. As a sonar technician Nettles is responsible for protecting the ship from underwater threats by locating and tracking subsurface contacts. “This job can really be a challenge,” said Nettles. “Tracking underwater contacts really is important to protect the ship from danger.” DDG 116 is currently undergoing tests and trials in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Navy from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Arleigh Burke class destroyers measure approximately 500 feet long and are powered by four gas turbines that allow the ship to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute a variety of missions. “Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his element leader, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown,” said Cmdr. Nathan W. Scherry, commanding officer, PCU Thomas Hudner.
“On 07 May 2012, Secretary Mabus announced that DDG 116 will be named in Captain Hudner's honor. Today, as the Navy's finest 300 Sailors crew the 66th Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, they do so with a tremendous amount of honor, pride, and sense of duty. We are extremely honored to be able to carry Captain Hudner's values and legacy forward so that they are never forgotten. We are proud to be able to carry out our missions in defense of our country's freedom and values, and humbled to be part of the Hudner family.” Nettles has carried lessons learned from her hometown into her military service. “I like proving people wrong and doing things that people say I can’t do,” said Nettles. “I get these opportunities every day.” With a crew of over 300 sailors, each crew member’s job is important to the smooth operation of the ship. The jobs range from weapon handling to navigation. Nettles has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition. “One of my grandfathers was a Navy Seabee. Another grandfather served in the Air Force,” said Nettles. Nettles’ proudest accomplishment is making second class petty officer before her third year of service. “It’s quite a large accomplishment, I think. The odds were against me. I don’t have shipboard experience yet,” added Nettles. Close 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. As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships, Nettles and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs. “Serving in the Navy means being part of something bigger than myself and assisting in the protection of our great nation,” said Nettles. The construction of the ship is over 98% complete. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in late 2018 in Boston, Mass. For more information about the commissioning, visit http://www.usshudnerddg116.org.