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Tampa Native Serves with the U.S. Navy Half a World Away

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Robert Zahn, Navy Office of Community Outreach

YOKOSUKA, Japan – A Tampa, Florida, native and 2000 East Bay High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy with Commander, Task Force 70, Destroyer Squadron 15 (DESRON 15).

Senior Chief Petty Officer Andrew Marshall is a sonar technician (surface) serving with DESRON 15, forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.

A Navy sonar technician (surface) is responsible for operating surface sonar and other oceanographic systems. They operate surface ship underwater fire control systems for antisubmarine warfare. They perform organizational and intermediate maintenance on surface sonar equipment.

Marshall is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of Tampa.

“Growing up in a small town, there was a sense of community,” said Marshall. “I always have an open mind to helping others and I’ve taken that small-town mentality with me to the Navy, a close-knit work environment.”

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.

Yokosuka

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), center, departs Fleet Activities Yokosuka. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Lee

“Being forward deployed here is challenging and very rewarding at the same time,” said Marshall. “We’re always busy and its stressful but there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the people you trained going out and succeeding in the mission,” said Marshall. “Serving in the Navy has made me a better person overall. It has taught me leadership and self confidence.”

Marshall is also proud of of being one of only a few acoustic intelligence specialists in the Navy. Because the position is so specialized and the extensive training and schooling that comes with it, he is able to better train other sonar techs in the fleet.

“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, Marshall and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“My favorite part about serving here is seeing the results of all the training and hard work pay off,” said Marshall. “Being deployed here is a different cultural experience and great for the family.”

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.