Fireman Apprentice Gregory Chilson is a gas turbine systems mechanic aboard the destroyer operating out of Yokosuka.
YOKOSUKA, Japan – A 2012 Olympian High School graduate and San Diego native is serving aboard the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), living and working at the Navy’s forward-deployed base south of Tokyo.
Fireman Apprentice Gregory Chilson is a gas turbine systems mechanic aboard the destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, which is located approximately 35 miles south of Tokyo and accommodates the United States’ furthest forward-deployed naval forces.
An Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Fitzgerald is 505 feet long or more than 1 1/2 football fields. The ship is 66 feet wide, weighs more than 9,200 tons, and its four gas turbine engines can push the ship through the ocean at nearly 35 miles per hour. The ship is named in honor of Lt. William Charles Fitzgerald, who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism on August 7, 1967 in Vietnam.
As a Sailor with numerous responsibilities, Chilson said he is proud to serve his country aboard a destroyer in Japan. He added that it is an exciting time to be in the military, and serving in the world’s greatest.
“Without us, the ship doesn’t move,” said Chilson. “Every system that supports the movement of the ship, and we also work with the ships air service.”
Chilson also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the Fitzgerald’s 300-member crew, living thousands of miles from home, and protecting America on the world’s oceans.
“This is a really good ship,” said Chilson. “I enjoy the community and being aboard the ship. They do a lot of things to keep us having fun such as ice cream socials and game nights.”
“Fitzgerald sailors represent every state in the union as well as a diversity of ethnicities. It is an honor to lead and serve with the finest sailors the nation has to offer,” said Cmdr. Chris England, the ship’s Commanding Officer. “These sailors should be justifiably proud of their accomplishments – a direct reflection of their dedication to mission accomplishment, motivation, and commitment to the Navy.”
Approximately 40 officers and 260 enlisted men make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the 2 billion dollar destroyer running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas. With multi-mission capabilities in surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, ballistic missile defense, and humanitarian assistance, Arleigh Burke destroyers excel as the Navy’s premier fighting warship.
Assigned to U.S. Seventh Fleet, Fitzgerald sailors are continuously on watch throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, acting as America’s first responders in that part of the world.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile combat ships, Chilson and other Fitzgerald sailors understand they are part of a forward-deployed team that is heavily relied upon to help protect and defend America across the world’s oceans.
“I love the opportunity the Navy gives you and the leadership skills it teaches you,” said Chilson. “The Navy really prepares you for a lot of things in life and it pushes you to show how great you can become.”
By Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs
“Why Being There Matters”
On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.