Columbus Native serves aboard ship that honors World War II Admiral
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller,
Navy Office of Community Outreach
SAN DIEGO – A 2010 Hamilton Township High School graduate and Columbus, Ohio, native is serving aboard the WWII namesake warship, USS Spruance.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Kent Sturgill is a gunner’s mate aboard the San Diego based ship, a guided missile destroyer. As a gunner’s mate, Sturgill is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System, ensuring all cells and missiles are ready for firing.
More than 300 Sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission ready at all times, according to Navy officials.
Sturgill has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.
“Back home people are friendly, kind and treat each other with respect,” he said. “This same attitude helps me as I interact with sailors every day.”
Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are about 510 feet long and can be armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems. Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently, as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups.
Spruance is armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter threats to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and ballistic missiles.
It was commissioned in 2011 and named after Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. He was a key naval commander during WWII, leading U.S. naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took place in the Pacific Theatre: Battle of Midway and Battle of the Philippine Sea. He later served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.
At Midway, Spruance scored the first major victory for the United States over Japan; generally considered to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
“USS Spruance is responsible for 22 mission areas, with 350 people onboard each Sailor actively supports multiple missions, said Cmdr. Joshua Menzel, commanding officer of Spruance. “As a member of the Pacific Fleet, the crew of USS SPRUANCE patrol the same waters and trains to perform the same missions as the Sailors Admiral Spruance commanded during WWII.”
Sturgill’s proudest accomplishment is leading his work center and watch his junior sailors advance and succeed.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Sturgill and other Spruance sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“Serving in the Navy provides a good foundation sets me up for future goals and endeavures,” said Sturgill. “I’m thankful for the educational benefits the military provides. I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience countries and cultures that many people never will. I’m proud to be able to serve my country, not everyone can.”