Wisconsin Rapids native tracking submarines on Navy destroyer
By Mass Communication Specialist First Class James Green
SAN DIEGO – A Wisconsin Rapids native and 2015 Lincoln High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Decatur.
Petty Officer Second Class Spencer Howard is a sonar technician aboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego. A Navy sonar technician is responsible for using sonar to find and track submarines.
Howard credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Wisconsin Rapids.
“I learned to always work hard and treat people with respect,” said Howard. “When you are polite, patient and prompt you are able to get more out of people.”
More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring dedication and skill, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignment that keep the ship mission-ready at all times.
“The success of the Decatur is due to the dedication and ownership each member of the crew feels towards making Decatur the best ship on the waterfront,” said Cmdr. Bob Bowen, commanding officer of USS Decatur. “Our team is always ready to accomplish the mission because of the commitment each sailor has to maintaining high standards and sound shipboard operating principles. Every team member knows their roles and responsibilities and does their part to ensure success.”
Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are 510 feet long and armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, Standard Missile-3 and newer variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems. Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups. Their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is the precondition for everything else the Navy does. It cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Howard, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Howard is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My brother and grandfather served in the Army and my dad and grandfather served in the Navy,” said Howard. “I am proud of their service.”
While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Howard has found many great rewards. Howard recently earned Sailor of the Month for December 2017.
“I am proud of the service I am providing to my country,” added Howard.