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    Salmon, Idaho native serves on board USS Antietam

    SOUTH CHINA SEA — A Salmon native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile cruiser, USS Antietam.

    Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Gonzalez is an Aviation Machinist’s Mate assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77’s detachment aboard the forward-deployed Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Antietam is one of three cruisers forward-deployed to Yokosuka.

    Approximately 450 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer 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.

    An Aviation Machinist’s Mate in an HSM is responsible for the engines, gearboxes and drive shafts of an MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter.

    “Without us, the helicopter won’t fly,” said Gonzalez. “We are the reason. Without us, the engines can’t run and the blades can’t move.”

    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.

    Forward-deployed Sailors are crucial to the success of the global navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.

    “We see more action than a lot of other squadrons and commands,” said Gonzalez. “We are constantly out for most our time.”

    Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions, explained Navy officials.

    “The culture is cool and its fun being here,” said Gonzalez. “There’s a lot of new things I see on the daily.”

    Modern U.S. Navy guided-missile cruisers perform primarily in a Battle Force role. These ships are multi-mission Air Warfare (AW), Undersea Warfare (USW), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) and Surface Warfare (SUW) surface combatants capable of supporting carrier battle groups, amphibious forces or operating independently and as flagships of surface action groups.

    USS Antietam is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific.

    For more information on (ship) and other forward-deployed ships in Japan, visit



    Date Taken: 08.15.2020
    Date Posted: 08.30.2020 22:33
    Story ID: 377106
    Location: AT SEA
    Hometown: SALMON, ID, US

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