Giving Back

TAPinto Series: Heroes of our City

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TAPinto has been honoring the military service of local veterans all month. Today, we introduce Alexander Gonzalez who is still servnig in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Spruance.

 

SAN DIEGO – A 2005 Eastside High School graduate is serving aboard the WWII namesake warship, USS Spruance.

Seaman Alexander Gonzalez is an operation specialist aboard the San Diego based ship, a guided missile destroyer.

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As an operation specialist, Gonzalez is responsible for handling all operational movements of the ship.

More than 300 Sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission ready at all times, according to Navy officials.

Gonzalez has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

“I learned respect growing up and I carry that into my military service."

Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are about 510 feet long and can be armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems. Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently, as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups.

Spruance is armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter threats to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and ballistic missiles.

It was commissioned in 2011 and named after Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. He was a key naval commander during WWII, leading U.S. naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took place in the Pacific Theatre: Battle of Midway and Battle of the Philippine Sea. He later served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.

At Midway, Spruance scored the first major victory for the United States over Japan; generally considered to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

“USS Spruance is responsible for 22 mission areas, with 350 people onboard each Sailor actively supports multiple missions, said Cmdr. Joshua Menzel, commanding officer of Spruance. “As a member of the Pacific Fleet, the crew of USS SPRUANCE patrol the same waters and trains to perform the same missions as the Sailors Admiral Spruance commanded during WWII.”

Gonzalez is honored to be the first family member to begin a tradition serving in the military.

“It was a big step for me to join the military and now my family looks up to me and they always have a lot of questions that sometimes I can't answer," he said.

Gonzalez’s proudest accomplishment was being the only Seaman to stand Officer of the Deck watch onboard USS Spruance ever.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Gonzalez and other Spruance sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“Serving in the Navy makes me proud, I love my job and it feels good to do what I do,” said Gonzalez.

 

We are grateful to Alexander for his continued service to our nation.

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