WATERS OFF THE COAST OF JAPAN — A Fresno native and 2011 McLane High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Stethem (DDG 63).
Petty Officer 3rd Class Kasandra Nuru is a Quartermaster aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Stethem is one of eight destroyers forward-deployed to Yokosuka.
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly, according to Navy officials. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.
A Navy quartermaster stands watch as an assistant to officers of the deck and the navigator. They maintain navigational instruments and keep correct navigational time; render "honors and ceremonies" in accordance with national observance and foreign customs; send and receive visual messages; and serve as petty officers in charge of tugs, self-propelled barges and other yard and district craft.
“I like being a quartermaster because you get a lot of face time with the Captain and you always know the mission and the purpose of the mission,” said Nuru.
With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.
“Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values,” said Adm. Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. “It’s not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom.”
Forward-deployed sailors are crucial to the success of the global navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.
“Being on a forward-deployed ship, you really get to know your job and you’re doing it almost every single day; so it’s like you learn the knowledge and you’re never forgetting it because you’re always constantly doing it,” said Nuru.
Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions, explained Navy officials.
“What I like about living in Japan is that the culture is completely different,” said Nuru. “It’s my first time being outside of the U.S., so being able to experience a different culture and expand my horizons has been a very wonderful experience and the people in general are really nice and welcoming.”
A navy destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and Phalanx close-in weapons systems.
Sailors play a vital role in the overall military mission around the world.
“The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” said Harris.
Stethem is operating as part of the Ronald Reagan Strike Group in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of its allies and partners in the region.