Pearland Native Serves Aboard Guided Missile Cruiser in Japan

Style Magazine Newswire | 9/11/2017, 12:45 p.m.
A Pearland, Texas native and 2014 Pearland High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile ...
Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel Lopez /Photo By Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Ward

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

YOKOSUKA, Japan – A Pearland, Texas native and 2014 Pearland High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile cruiser, USS Chancellorsville.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel Lopez is an operations specialist aboard the forward deployed Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Chancellorsville is one of three cruisers forward-deployed in Yokosuka.

A Navy operations specialist is responsible for operating the communications, radar, and navigation equipment that tracks ships, aircraft, and enemy missiles and then communicates tactical information to supervisors and other operators.

“I learned from my dad that you should always be friendly and make connections with people which I found helps me succeed better in life, especially in the Navy,” said Lopez.

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.

"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 cruiser 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.

“My dad influenced me to become the person I am today because he taught me how to be a better leader and taught me to treat people with respect which is helpful being in the Navy,” said Lopez.

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

“Serving in the Navy gives me a great sense of pride,” added Lopez. “I graduated from the Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface Warfare Tactical Air Controller School as an honor graduate which is a huge accomplishment."

A Navy cruiser is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns, and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

Sailors play a vital role in the overall military mission around the world.

"The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Harris.