Ismene Staton

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ismene Staton is a cryptologic technician (collection) assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine. (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy)

A 2015 University High School graduate and Tolleson native is serving as part of the pre-commissioning unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ismene Staton is a cryptologic technician (collection) assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine.

As a cryptologic technician (collection) Staton is responsible for handling and collecting signal intelligence data.

“I like the schools that I was able to attend while training for my job,” Staton said. “They were both interesting and challenging.”

DDG 116 is undergoing tests and trials in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Navy from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Arleigh Burke class destroyers measure approximately 500 feet long and are powered by four gas turbines that allow the ship to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute a variety of missions.

“Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his element leader, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown,” said Cmdr. Nathan W. Scherry, commanding officer, PCU Thomas Hudner.

“On 07 May 2012, Secretary Mabus announced that DDG 116 will be named in Capt. Hudner’s honor. Today, as the Navy’s finest 300 Sailors crew the 66th Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, they do so with a tremendous amount of honor, pride and sense of duty. We are extremely honored to be able to carry Capt. Hudner’s values and legacy forward so that they are never forgotten. We are proud to be able to carry out our missions in defense of our country’s freedom and values, and humbled to be part of the Hudner family.”

Staton has carried lessons learned from her hometown into her military service.

“I’ve always been taught to work hard, set goals, and when you attain them, set new ones,” Staton said.

With a crew of over 300 sailors, each crew member’s job is important to the smooth operation of the ship. The jobs range from weapon handling to navigation.

Staton is the first in her family to serve in the U.S. military.

“My grandfather fought with Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution,” Staton said. “He fought against the U.S. Army.”

Staton said her proudest accomplishments are getting through a very challenging advanced “C” school.

“The school was intimidating,” Staton added. “A lot of other classmates already had some experience. I did not. But I stepped up to the challenge.”

Close living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships, Staton and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“The Navy allows me to help others who can’t defend themselves,” Staton said. “I am proud to be a part of the greatest Navy.”

The construction of the ship is over 98 percent complete. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in late 2018 in Boston. For more information about the commissioning, visit usshudnerddg116.org.