A Hammond native and 2009 Gavit High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USSWayne E. Meyer.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Fryer is a boatswain's mate aboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego.
A Navy boatswain's mate is responsible for driving and fueling the ship as well as providing support for search and rescue operations.
“I was taught to have focus in what you want to accomplish and never waiver from that, and I have carried that into my military service,” Fryer said.
More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.
"The success of our Surface Force ships is measured by our ability to provide Fleet Commanders with combat naval power at sea and to project that power ashore where and when it matters," said Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "It's hard work to ready ships for combat operations at sea - it takes the talent of an entire crew working well together. I'm extremely proud of the each and every surface warrior's contributions to the Navy's enduring mission of protecting and defending America, at home and around the world."
A Navy destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.
Fryer has military ties with family members who have previously served, and he is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My mother served in the military and I was always proud of her service, so it was something I wanted to do,” Fryer said.
Fryer’s proudest accomplishment was advancing in his rate.
“The Navy has made me a better person by teaching me how to be a leader,” Fryer said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Fryer and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“Serving in the Navy fills me with pride knowing I am sacrificing for others,” Fryer added.