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GH native serves aboard new destroyer

By MCS 1st Class Tom Gagnier • May 22, 2018 at 4:00 PM

BATH, Maine — A 2014 Grand Haven High School graduate is serving as part of the Precommissioning Unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Stevenson is a gas turbine systems technician assigned to the ship in Bath, Maine. He is responsible for the ship’s turbine engines, engine room readiness, safety and fuel.

“I enjoy getting my hands dirty and learning how to fix new equipment,” Stevenson said.

The Hudner 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, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance.

The ship is named for Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain and received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his element leader.

Stevenson said he has carried lessons learned from his hometown of Grand Haven into his military service.

“I learned from my work at a pizza place in Grand Haven that it pays off to be a hard worker,” he said. “People take notice.”

Stevenson has military ties with family members who have previously served, and says he is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My stepfather was in the Army,” he said.

Stevenson’s proudest accomplishments are being the first qualified search-and-rescue swimmer on the Thomas Hudner and getting selected as the bluejacket of the quarter for the second quarter 2018.

“I was first out of six people on the Hudner to attend a search-and-rescue swimmer school and qualify,” he said. “It was challenging, and I learned a lot.”

The construction of the ship is nearly complete. It is scheduled for commissioning late this year in Boston. For more information about the commissioning, visit www.usshudnerddg116.org.

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