Daingerfield Native Keeps Middle East Waters Open for the Free Flow of Commerce.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Finley, Navy Office of Community Outreach.
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson G. Brown
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Petty Officer 3rd Class Adrianna Hill, a Daingerfield, Texas, native, wanted a challenging career.
Now, three years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Hill serves aboard an Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship (MCM), USS Gladiator, tasked to search and dispose of enemy mines in the world’s most dynamic maritime region as the leading edge of the Navy.
“The most challenging aspect for me is that this is my first ship,” said Hill. “It has been good so far, and I learn something new every day.”
Hill, a 2014 graduate of Daingerfield High School, is an electrician’s mate aboard the Manama, Bahrain-based ship, one of four MCMs forward-deployed to the Arabian Gulf in the Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet operating under Task Force 52.
“As an electrician’s mate, I manage all electrical components on board the ship, to include power distribution systems and electrical tools,” said Hill. “I’m also responsible for electrical safety and troubleshooting any electrical casualty.”
Task Force 52 plans and executes mine warfare operations in support of U.S. 5th Fleet’s operational objectives.
Hill credits success in the MCM force, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Daingerfield.
“A lesson I learned from my home town is to not be afraid to try new things and broaden your horizons,” said Hill.
USS Gladiator is 224 feet long, 39 feet wide and weighs over 1,300 tons. Four diesel engines, designed to have very low magnetic and acoustic signatures, help push the ship through the water at 16 miles per hour.
As mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately, the U.S. and partner nations are committed to taking all action necessary to reduce the risk to support the continuous free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation throughout the region. MCMs are outfitted with the means to detect and disable them, ensuring sea lanes remain open for military, commercial and civilian vessels. These ships use a variety of novel and conventional sweeping measures, including sonar and video systems, cable cutters and remote control mine-detonating devices.
“If we don’t have power to the ship, then we cannot get underway,” said Hill. “We also serve an important role in maintaining equipment for minesweeping,” said Hill.
The Navy’s mine countermeasures in the U.S. 5th Fleet are divided between three separate legs, consisting of an airborne, surface and underwater methods. These include of the MCMs such as USS Gladiator, MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15, and unmanned underwater vehicles, as well as expeditionary explosive ordnance disposal teams. All three legs work together to hunt and neutralize mines.
The Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of ocean and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points; the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.
“I’m incredibly proud to serve with each of our Sailors, Coastguardsmen and Marines forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations,” said Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, deputy commander for NAVCENT/ U.S. 5th Fleet. “They represent the very best of our country and serve as volunteers in a complex and dynamic region that’s vital to our security. I am honored to work alongside these warriors.”
“Experiencing the culture in the middle east is a special experience,” said Hill.
Serving in the Navy means Hill is part of a 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.
A vital element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is related to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to the coast, and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“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.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Hill is most proud of becoming the first female electrician to serve on aboard an MCM.
“I am proud of this because it was a historic moment,” said Hill. “I think it is a big accomplishment.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Hill and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs
“Being in the Navy means I recognize that my life is no more important than anyone else’s and I would sacrifice mine to protect yours,” said Hill.