Morgan City sailor serves aboard Navy warship homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR – A Morgan City, Louisiana, native and 2015 Berwick HIgh School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS USS Hopper.

Petty officer third class Katherine Degg is a gunner’s mate aboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy gunner’s mate is responsible for performing maintenance and providing upkeep with munitions onboard.

“’Always be kind and have manners no matter how rude someone is to you’ has carried me far in life and in the military,” said Degg.

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.

Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide credible combat power, at and from the sea.

“Our sailors in Pearl Harbor are doing an excellent job at warfighting and supporting the warfighter,” said Cmdr. Hurd, chief staff officer, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “Historically, Pearl Harbor is a symbolic base of sacrifice and resiliency. Today, on every Navy ship and shore facility’s flag pole, the First Navy Jack, ‘Don’t Tread on Me,’ flies reminding sailors to move forward and build on the history and legacy of this country and the U.S. Navy.”

Navy guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission ships that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea, Navy officials explained. They are equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew. The crew is motivated, and can quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills. Serving aboard a guided-missile destroyer instills accountability and toughness and fosters initiative and integrity.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Degg, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Degg is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“My Papaw was in the Navy and a big influence on my joining,” said Degg.

Degg is also proud of earning a Navy Achievement Medal in 2018 for being the leading maintenance person for many hours of maintenance.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Degg and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I don’t think about what it means to serve the Navy; I just do my job,” added Degg.