Pasadena Native Serves With U.S. Navy Half a World Away

Pasadena, Maryland, native and 2012 Northeast High School graduate, Seaman Shaquona O'Berry is serving in the U.S. Navy forward-deployed aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Curtis Wilbur.

Seaman O'Berry is a culinary specialist aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. The ship routinely deploys to protect alliances, enhance partnerships, and be ready to respond if a natural disaster occurs in the region.

A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for operating and managing Navy messes and living quarters established to subsist and accommodate Navy personnel.

O'Berry is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of his hometown, Pasadena.

“Pasadena taught me to be hesitant before you speak and I apply that to my everyday dealings in the Navy,” said O'Berry.

Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world ready at all times to defend America’s interests. With more than 50 percent of the world's shipping tonnage and a third of the world's crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy's presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.

“I joined the military to fight for my country and I am well prepared for a forward-deployed schedule,” said O'Berry.

Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are 510 feet long and armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, Standard Missile-3 and newer variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems. Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups. Their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is the precondition for everything else the Navy does. It cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.

Curtis Wilbur has anti-aircraft capability armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter the threat to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, O'Berry and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

"I’ve learned to channel my anger and I am more responsible and organized because of the Navy,” said O'Berry. “Serving in the Navy means you are doing something bigger than yourself, taking steps forward to help everyone else.”

Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet's area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors in the 7th Fleet.