YOKOSUKA, Japan – A Sidney, Ohio, native and 2016 Christian Academy graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Stethem.
Fireman Jerrod Peterson is a machinist’s mate aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Stethem is one of eight destroyers forward-deployed in Yokosuka. He is the son of Harry and Rhonda Peterson.
A Navy machinist’s mate operates, maintains, and repairs ship propulsion machinery, auxiliary equipment, and outside machinery such as the steering engine, hoisting machinery, food preparation equipment, refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, elevators, and laundry equipment.
“My dad taught me to treat eveyone with respect and they will respect you back and that you only get one first impression, so make it the best,” said Peterson. “The lessons I learned from him show me how to be professional in the Navy.”
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 U.S. has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.
“Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values,” said Adm. Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. “It’s not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom.”
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the ship running smoothly, according to Navy officials. 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.
“Being forward deployed here is tough because we are always underway and we work very long hours,” said Peterson. “One thing you can take from this is that it builds character and it feels good to know that other people are going through the same struggles, so we help each other. I’m working towards getting my enlisted surface warfare specialist qualification pin which will help me succeed in the Navy and I will be able to advance in my job.”
Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions, explained Navy officials.
“I serve in the Navy because I feel like it’s my duty to serve for my country,” added Peterson. “It feels good to give back to the community and protecting those back home.”
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.