MAYPORT, Fla. – Claremore native serves in the U.S. Navy aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Brown joined the Navy three years ago. Today, Brown serves as a gunner's mate.
“I knew I wasn't ready to start college, but I also knew it was time for me to go out and do things,” said Brown.
Growing up in Claremore, Brown attended Claremore High School and graduated in 2018. Today, Brown finds the values in Claremore similar to those needed to succeed in the military.
“Growing up in Oklahoma, I learned to treat others with respect, regardless of who they are or where they come from,” said Brown.
These lessons have helped Brown while serving in the Navy.
Donald Cook returned home from Naval Station Rota, Spain after spending five years as a forward-deployed destroyer.
“These Sailors distinguished themselves throughout their five years deployed overseas,” said Capt. Joseph Gagliano, Commander, Destroyers Squadron 60 and Task Force 65. “Their contribution to NATO security and freedom of navigation is a legacy that will now continue with Arleigh Burke.”
Donald Cook was replaced by USS Arleigh Burke, the lead ship of its class of Aegis-equipped guided-missile destroyers. This homeport shift was the second of four in support of the U.S. Navy’s plan to rotate the Rota-based destroyers.
“Donald Cook’s time in Sixth Fleet has afforded this ship and her crew a number of invaluable experiences that are unique to this area of operation to include operating in the Black Sea, crossing the Arctic Circle, and a multitude of international operations,” said Cmdr. Matthew Curnen, Donald Cook’s commanding officer.
A guided-missile destroyer modernization program is underway to provide a comprehensive mid-life upgrade that will ensure the Arleigh Burke class will maintain mission relevance and remain an integral part of the Navy.
Serving in the Navy means Brown is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The United States Navy is the first line of defense against ballistic missiles,” said Brown. "We have the most extensive defensive systems anywhere in the world. We're forming a shield for our own nation and our allies. Our job is to protect those who may not be able to protect themselves."
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities, and capacity.
“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
There are many accomplishments that come with military service, and Brown is most proud of his deployment to the Aegean Sea near Greece in April.
“Our ship was required to help deter aggression from one nation against another nation,” said Brown. "It was successful because they ended up backing off."
As Brown and other sailors continue their mission, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy can be a hard life, but the rewards make the sacrifice worth it,” added Brown. "Every time we execute our mission, I know we're providing freedom for our fellow Americans."