U.S. Navy Spotlights Daytona Beach Native Serving Abroad

By on May 13, 2018 in WNDB News

Daytona Beach, FL – A Daytona Beach native and Calvary Christian Academy alumnus is now serving with the U.S. Navy in a position that is considered one of the branch’s most relied-upon assets.

Petty Officer 3rd Class DeVaughn McLendon serves as a Navy mineman aboard the forward-deployed, Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, USS Warrior. The ship is located near Sasebo, Japan, and regularly deploys to the surrounding areas in the region to protect alliances, enhance partnerships, and to be on standby if a natural disaster occurs.

A Navy mineman assists in the detection and neutralization of underwater mines. They check to make sure the mines work correctly and they test electronic components to make sure they are properly repaired. Other duties include safely storing, handling, and loading mines for transporting.

While McLendon is proud to serve in the Pacific, he has not forgotten his roots.

“I learned a good work ethic and persistence from my high school basketball coach, Coach Fitzgerald,” said McLendon. “He was a mentor since middle school. He brought me in and helped me in basketball and was a role model. He always told me to stay strong and never get discouraged, to stay motivated.”

McLendon is also proud of earning his enlisted surface warfare qualification pin. He says the achievement pushes him to motivate others to get qualified.

According to the U.S. Navy, over half of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passes through the region. Navy officials say serving in the region is a rewarding part of the United States’ historic commitment to defending interests in the area.

The USS Warrior is a 224 feet long vessel weighing approximately 1,300 tons. It is manned by more than 80 crew members and is one of 11 Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships. The vessel is designed to neutralize mines in crucial waterways and ports and is one of four “minesweepers” in Sasebo.

“It feels good to be needed while serving here,” said McLendon. “I feel like we always need to be ready, there’s always a lot of things that I do on the ship. My work ethic has become a lot better since joining the Navy. I can handle certain situations better. I’ve become better conditioned not to speak out. I’ve learned how to respect others. I’ve learned a lot about myself and others.”

“My favorite part of this command are the people here,” said McLendon. “There’s not one person that I don’t get along with. I feel comfortable talking to anyone.”

This year, Seventh Fleet is celebrating its 75th year. The fleet encompasses more than 124 million square kilometers, covering the area from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border, and the Kuril Islands to Antarctica. Seventh Fleet’s area of operation covers 36 maritime countries and half of the world’s population with 50-70 ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors.

Photos of McLendon courtesy U.S. Navy.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.

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