By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Erica R. Gardner, Navy Office of Community Outreach
PEARL HARBOR – A Philadelphia native and 2007 World Communication Charter School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile cruiser, USS Port Royal.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Graham has served in the Navy for four years and is a U.S. Navy boatswain’s mate aboard guided-missile cruiser operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
He is responsible for the ship’s paint preservation and protection of the crew and ship.
Graham credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons he learned in Philadelphia.
“I was taught not to just go off what someone tells you in blind trust, but to verify everything,” Graham said.
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. According to Navy officials, their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly. They do everything from maintaining the gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.
Although there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Graham is most proud of making petty officer second class on the first advancement exam in 2017.
“The advancement quotas were only 11 percent and I made it,” he said.
A Navy cruiser is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea Navy officials explained. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor — often referred to as the “gateway to the Pacific” in defense circles — means Graham is serving in a part of the world that is taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many U.S. allies.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Graham, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. He is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My grandfather served in the Army,” Graham said. “I wanted to join to inspire some of the cousins to leave home and not be a product of our environment.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Graham and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means fighting for the people I care about and protecting them,” added Graham. “Also, it means starting a new and more adventurous life.”