Mount Pleasant sailor serves aboard Navy warship homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
By Kayla Turnbow, Navy Office of Community Outreach
PEARL HARBOR – A Mount Pleasant, Texas, native and 2014 Mount Pleasant High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Hopper.
Fireman Matthew Vaughn is a gas turbine systems electrician aboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
A Navy gas turbine systems electrician is responsible for the power plant that drives the propulsion of the ship. They maintain the equipment that generates electricity throughout the vessel.
“Growing up, I always had the mindset that it’s a great day to be alive, and you should live every day like it is your last,” said Vaughn. “In the Navy, it is important to keep going forward and learning.”
More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring dedication and skill, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times.
Fast, maneuverable and technically advanced, destroyers provide credible combat power from the sea.
“Our sailors in Pearl Harbor are doing an excellent job at warfighting and supporting the warfighter,” said Cmdr. Hurd, chief staff officer, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “Historically, Pearl Harbor is a symbolic base of sacrifice and resiliency. Today, on every Navy ship and shore facility’s flagpole, the First Navy Jack, ‘Don’t Tread on Me,’ flies reminding sailors to move forward and build on the history and legacy of this country and the U.S. Navy.”
Navy guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission ships that can operate independently, or as part of a larger group of ships at sea, Navy officials explained. They have tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a Phalanx close-in weapons system.
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.
“Joining the Navy has opened my eyes to a bigger picture of the world. I’ve been able to experience a taste of many different places,” said Vaughn. “It has made me feel thankful for what I have.”
Vaughn is also proud of advancing to a third class petty officer.
“I am proud that I can advance, and work my way through the challenges that they’ve offered to me,” said Vaughn.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Vaughn and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy is an honor,” added Vaughn. “You see all these people that try to join the military, and not everyone can serve. I am honored to be able to do my part.”