PEARL HARBOR – A Meridianville, Ala., native and 2011 Hazel Green High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile cruiser, USS Port Royal.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Brownlow has served in the Navy for four years and is a U.S. Navy personnel specialist aboard the guided-missile cruiser operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
As a Navy personnel specialist, Brownlow is responsible for all pay and personnel records.
Brownlow credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Meridianville.
“I am from a small town in south Meridianville so it just taught me about family and caring for your neighbors no matter what race you are,” said Brownlow.
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 gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Brownlow is most proud of earning NPPSC Blue Jacket of the Quarter in 2016 and being promoted to third class petty officer in May of 2017.
“I was proud for the recognition I never thought I would get and who doesn’t love money and a higher pay grade, but all my hard work and studying paid off,” said Brownlow.
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 systems.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Brownlow is serving in a part of the world 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,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “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.
“I am the first in my family to be in the military,” said Brownlow. “I joined because I wanted to wake up with a purpose and just to serve meant something to me. I always looked at guys in the military like heroes.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Brownlow 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 means a lot to me,” added Brownlow. “Every day I wake up with a purpose to serve what may not be a perfect nation but a nation full of good people from all walks of life. To able to wake up and serve these people makes me smile. Roll Tide!”