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By Petty Officer 1st Class James H. Green, Navy Office of Community Outreach

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A Houston, Texas native and 2008 Booker T. Washington High School graduate, Petty Officer 2nd Class Larnell Smith is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Halsey.

Smith works as a culinary specialist aboard the guided missile destroyer operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for the wellness and morale of the crew by providing hot meals for the ship.

“I like how my job allows me to be constantly learning,” said Smith. “We have to absorb a lot of culinary information and learn a diversified menu.”

With the ability to conduct anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, destroyers are capable of sustained maritime operations supporting forward naval presence, maritime security, sea control, deterrence of aggressive actions on U.S. partners around the globe, as well as humanitarian assistance.  Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide credible combat power, at and from the sea.

“One of the things that makes our Navy the best in the world, is the diverse backgrounds of our sailors,” said Cmdr. David Reyes, Commanding Officer of USS Halsey. “Their ability to work together and bring their different perspectives to our ship, missions, and various challenges enable us to be an unstoppable force. The personal experiences and values they offer cultivates an environment in which determination and creativity helps ensure our continued success. I am extremely honored to have the privilege to lead and serve with these extraordinary young men and women.”

Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly.  They do everything from to maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.

“The best thing about serving here is the close knit crew we have,” said Smith.

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew. The crew is motivated, and can quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills. Serving aboard a guided missile destroyer instills accountability and toughness and fosters initiative and integrity.

“Serving in the Navy fills me with pride in knowing that I have made my family proud,” added Smith.

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