SAN DIEGO - Littoral combat ships were first introduced more than a decade ago to the naval fleet to increase military presence and complete diverse missions. Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Jones, an information systems technician who is responsible for working with computers, networks, radios, and satellite communications, is one of the sailors serving aboard USS Freedom, homeported in San Diego.
“I like the diversity and the wide range of work we do,” said Jones. “It is always something different.”
Jones is a Mahopac native and graduate of the MHS Class of 2013.
According to Jones, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Mahopac.
“Mahopac taught me patience,” said Jones. “I learned to be patient and receptive to different ideas.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States are directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
Littoral combat ships are considered the future of the Navy because of their technologically advanced engineering and versatility to deter multiple threats. Freedom is named after the enduring values the United States was built on and the cities in nine different states that bear the same name. The crew aboard Freedom is comprised of 40 sailors.
Freedom is 388 feet long and 58 feet wide and weighs nearly 3,400 tons fully loaded. The ship is equipped with two gas-turbine engines allowing it to navigate the water at 40 knots.
According to Admiral Mike Gilday, the chief of Naval Operations, the focus of today’s Navy is squarely on war-fighting, and the capabilities needed for the Navy of the future.
“I am confident we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” Gilday said. “And we will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”
There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community, and careers. Jones is most proud of getting promoted to first-class petty officer.
“I just never thought I would make it this far,” he said.
For Jones, serving in the Navy is a tradition passed down from generations and one Jones hopes to continue.
“My dad, uncle, and grandfather served, as well as my brother who is currently in the Air Force,” said Jones. “Continuing the tradition is like a rite of passage and becoming a man. You got to do what you got to do.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Jones, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs, and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving in the Navy is an opportunity to excel and always be better,” said Jones. “It is an opportunity to succeed and expand my thinking and level of knowledge.”
Megan Brown is with the Navy Office of Community Outreach