Excelsior Springs native serves aboard Navy warship in Japan
An Excelsior Springs, Missouri native and 2008 Excelsior Springs High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Curtis Wilbur.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Katelynn Coughlin is a quartermaster aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Curtis Wilburis one of eight destroyers forward-deployed in Yokosuka.
A Navy quartermaster is responsible for working on the bridge with the captian to help plot the course ensuring the save navigation of the entire ship.
“Seeing a lot of great people and role models who started in Excelsior Springs and went on to do outstanding things has inspired me," said Coughlin. "I learned by them that I can do anything I set my mind to.”
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, 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, 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.
Forward-deployed sailors are crucial to the success of the global Navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.
“I have many family members who served in the military and I believe by being in the Navy that I'm carrying on that same tradition,” said Coughlin. “I’m proud of the fact that I advanced from E1 to E5 in less than three years. I did a lot of work outside of my rate as well as my pay grade. I see many forward-deployed sailors advance faster and I believe it’s because of the amount of time doing your job at sea."
Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions, explained Navy officials.
“Seeing how the Navy responded over the years, all over the world to the many disasters influenced my decision to join," added Coughlin. "I’m honored to know that I serve and am part of a bigger picture. Seeing the good the Navy does is encouraging to me.”
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.