Petty Officer 2nd Class David Downey, an Ontario native and 2006 Wayne Central High School graduate, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Sterett, a guided-missile destroyer.
Downey is a sonar technician aboard the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego. A sonar technician surface in the Navy is responsible for operating sonar systems, underwater fire control systems and supporting equipment on surface ships such as frigates, destroyers and cruisers.
“The best part of my job is the science side of it all,” Downey said.
Commissioned in August 2008, Sterett measures about 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Sterett is the fourth ship to be named after Lt. Andrew Sterett, a U.S. naval officer who fought in the Quasi and Barbary wars.
Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare as well as humanitarian assistance.
Fast, maneuverable and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.
With a crew of more than 300 sailors, jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
“My command has a high level of excellence,” Downey said. “We always win awards.”
Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated and quickly adapts to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“Doing my part as an American citizen is the reason why I joined the Navy,” Downey said.