YOKOSUKA, Japan - A Hughson native and 1998 Hughson High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy with Commander, Task Force 70, Destroyer Squadron 15 (DESRON 15).
Senior Chief Petty Officer Brian Kelley is an electronics technician serving with DESRON 15, forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.
Kelley is the maintenance program coordinator of the command as well as for the force which includes eight destroyers.
Kelley is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of Hughson.
"I grew up in a small town so I wanted to join the Navy to gain experience," said Kelley.
Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world ready at all times to defend America's interests. 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. The Navy's presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
"Before being deployed here I thought it would be challenging but I didn't expect how much more challenging it is," said Kelley. "This is where things are happening. What we're doing is affecting things in real time."
"Serving in the Navy has definitely given me an exposure to a much larger diversity of people and cultures," said Kelley. "The Navy has also given me structure and responsibility."
Kelley is also proud of when the force achieves their 3m certifications. He believes that his training and expertise helps support the overall mission because of
"I feel like a bigger part of the picture."
"You make a difference every day," said Deputy Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Joey Dodgen. "We are the most prepared, highly trained and the most capable force in the Indo Pacific. Our carriers, amphibious assault ships, aircraft and most importantly, our people, are ready today to face regional challenges and lead our Navy's forces in this theater, just as the officers and sailors of 7th Fleet have done for 75 years. So thank you for all that you do."
The mission of the DESRON 15 is to conduct underway operations and exercise tactical control of destroyers during peace and wartime operations.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy's most relied-upon assets, Kelley and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
"I enjoy serving at this command because I've had the opportunity to directly affect people and aid in their success," said Kelley. "I love living in Japan; there's endless opportunities to enjoy different cultures."
Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet's area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world's population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors in the 7th Fleet.