A Loxahatchee native and 2012 Park Vista High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Fox is a damage controlman aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. The Curtis Wilbur is one of eight destroyers forward-deployed in Yokosuka.
A Navy damage controlman is responsible for the ship’s survivability using firefighting and dewatering equipment, making sure the ship stays afloat.
“My dad was a Marine and taught me good discipline and leadership,” Fox said. “My mom taught me to stay the course and never give up. Their influence impacts my job daily in the Navy.”
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 U.S. 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 of 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.”
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the ship running smoothly. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.
Forward-deployed sailors are crucial to the success of the global U.S. Navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.
“I like the fact I have the opportunity to see and do amazing things. Being in the Navy, I have had experiences that I never thought I’d be able to do,” Fox said. “I’m proud of the fact that I came from an undesignated position to being a damage controlman in just three years. It was a lot of hard work.”
Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions.
“I’ve met many amazing people during my time in the Navy,” Fox said. “I was surrounded by some of the best leaders and mentors and learned many life and leadership skills which I’ll carry throughout my entire career.”
With the ability to conduct anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, destroyers are capable of sustained maritime operations supporting forward naval presence, maritime security, sea control, deterrence of aggressive actions on U.S. partners around the globe, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable and technically advanced, destroyers provide credible combat power, at and from the sea.