EAST CHINA SEA (Nov. 06, 2019) Cmdr. Jonathan Hopkins, commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69), discusses the ship’s current patrol on the forecastle. Milius is underway conducting operations in the Indo-Pacific region while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Taylor DiMartino)
So this A.O.R. features a lot of Navies all operating in compressed space. There’s a lot of different competing nations working in this area with high traffic volume makes it a very challenging area to operate on a routine basis. Requires all of our watch standards to be on their toes at all times, and really stresses teamwork throughout all levels of the command. The Milius sailors have been doing fantastic. Each day I see new qualifications, I see sailors demonstrating that prowess doing watch or doing drills, or doing exercises. It’s made my job easy as a leader, I really don’t have to lead as much as I have to allow them to excel. And they’ve been doing just that. We’re pushing everyday to improve the qualification and readiness of all the sailors on board. We want every sailor to, not only be confident that they can do the minimum of the job but they know enough to be able to take over the next persons job on the chain. We want each sailor cross trained as much as possible so that they’re comfortable in a time of need to be able to assume new responsibilities. The biggest thing I’d like the crew to know as we go out and we execute our tasking, is that they make a difference everyday. At the national level, our presence out here makes a difference, and it enables our national leaders to execute their policies. It’s an honor to command a ship like this out here in Seventh Fleet, it’s one of the most challenging environments that we operate in and having a ship of this caliber and crew of this sustained superior performance is really made it a pleasure and an honor.