Slidell Sailor Serves Aboard U.S. Navy Ship Honoring Women’s History Icon

PEARL HARBOR – There’s a U.S. Navy ship unlike most floating in the waters of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. It's a Navy warship that honors the name of a female who has set the standard of excellence for those who have followed.

During this Women’s History Month of March, a Slidell, Louisiana, sailor and 2016 Salmen High School graduate is serving aboard USS Hopper, named for Rear Adm. Grace Hopper.

Petty Officer 3rd Class John Canty has served in the Navy for three years and works as a Navy sonar technician (geographical), serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer.

Canty credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Slidell.

 “Growing up I learned ‘what you give is what you get,’" said Canty.

 

“Along with learning to work hard, where I grew up, outside of New Orleans, there was a lot of diversity and different cultures all mashed into one place, so overcoming diversity in the Navy wasn’t really a problem for me and has actually helped me succeed in my Navy career.”

The sailors’ jobs aboard USS Hopper are highly specialized, requiring dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments keeping the ship mission-ready at all times.

As a Navy sonar technician (geographical), Canty is responsible for vocalizing, detecting and tracking enemy submarines and torpedoes.

More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship named for the pioneering computer scientist who served in the Navy for 43 years.

Though Rear Adm. Hopper joined the Naval Reserves in 1943 after being an associate professor of mathematics at Vassar College, retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of commander at the end of 1966. She was recalled to active duty in August 1967 for a six-month period that turned into an indefinite assignment. From 1967 to 1977, Hopper served as the director of the Navy Programming Languages Group in the Navy's Office of Information Systems Planning and was promoted to the rank of captain in 1973.  Hopper was promoted to commodore by special Presidential appointment in 1983. In 1985, the rank of commodore was renamed rear admiral lower half. She retired from the Navy on August 14, 1986. Owing to the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as "Amazing Grace."

“Serving aboard has been an honor,” said Canty. “This ship has one of the highest male to female ratios. When I realized who Grace Hopper was, I realized she did a lot to create the job I now have."

Navy guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission ships, equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons systems, that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea.

Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Canty is serving in a part of the world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world's population, many of the world's largest and smallest economies, several of the world's largest militaries, and many U.S. allies. The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Canty is most proud of graduating from advanced rate training, known as “C” school.

“It was a year and half worth of schooling,” said Canty. “There were a lot of difficult parts, but I’m just proud of myself for making it through and graduating.”

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Canty, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Canty is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“My sister is also a sonar technician (geographical) third class serving in Norfolk, but my grandpa served in Vietnam,” said Canty. “He influenced me to join by how he’s always carried himself and by how much respect people had for him. He always made our family proud.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Canty 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 for me, means I'm doing my part to protect everyone I know, love and care about while protecting our country,” added Canty.

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