A 2016 Hancock High School graduate and St. Louis, Missouri, native is serving as part of the Pre-Commissioning Unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Seaman Apprentice Ryan Reeves is a quartermaster assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine.

As a quartermaster Reeves is responsible for the safe and efficient navigation of the ship.

“We are one of the only jobs on ship with a view,” said Reeves. “We can always look up to the sun and stars.”

DDG 116 is currently undergoing tests and trials in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Navy from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Arleigh Burke class destroyers measure approximately 500 feet long and are powered by four gas turbines that allow the ship to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute a variety of missions.

“Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his element leader, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown,” said Cmdr. Nathan W. Scherry, commanding officer, PCU Thomas Hudner. “On 07 May 2012, Secretary Mabus announced that DDG 116 will be named in Captain Hudner’s honor. Today, as the Navy’s finest 300 Sailors crew the 66th Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, they do so with a tremendous amount of honor, pride, and sense of duty. We are extremely honored to be able to carry Captain Hudner’s values and legacy forward so that they are never forgotten. We are proud to be able to carry out our missions in defense of our country’s freedom and values, and humbled to be part of the Hudner family.”

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

“Just do what you’re told, and take care of your responsibilities,” said Reeves. “Life will be much easier.”

With a crew of over 300 sailors, each crew member’s job is important to the smooth operation of the ship. The jobs range from weapon handling to navigation.

Reeves has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My grandfather was in the Navy during the Vietnam era. He was on USS Ticonderoga,” said Reeves.

Reeves’s proudest accomplishment is being selected as blue jacket of the quarter for the first quarter in 2017.

“I was recognized for my hard work over several other worthy sailors,” added Reeves.

Close living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships, Reeves and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Being in the Navy means that I’m serving my country while setting myself up to further my education and better myself,” said Reeves.

The construction of the ship is over 98% complete. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in late 2018 in Boston, Mass. For more information about the commissioning, visit http://www.usshudnerddg116.org.

(Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller)