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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Greenbelt native serves aboard U.S. Navy warship in Mayport

Updated: Aug 30, 2023


Petty Officer 1st Class Drew Ables. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel, Navy Office of Community Outreach

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James Green, Navy Office of Community Outreach


MAYPORT, Fla. - Petty Officer 1st Class Drew Ables, a native of Greenbelt, Maryland, is serving aboard USS Winston S. Churchill, a U.S. Navy warship, operating out of Mayport, Florida.

Ables, a 2013 graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High School, joined the Navy nine years ago.

“I joined the Navy to pursue a career that is challenging, rewarding and has good benefits,” said Ables. "I joined at the age of 18, and right off the bat, I was in charge of million-dollar equipment, which is stressful and at the same time very rewarding."

Today, Ables relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Greenbelt to succeed in the military.

“Growing up, I learned to always stay humble and never think you are better than anyone else,” said Ables. "I treat everyone with respect. We are all humans, so I treat everyone I come across that way. I'm not above anyone.”

These lessons have helped Ables while serving in the Navy.

Winston S. Churchill is a guided-missile destroyer that provides a wide range of warfighting capabilities. The 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.

More than 300 sailors serve aboard Winston S. Churchill. 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.

With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

"Our mission remains timeless - to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level," said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. "This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy."

Serving in the Navy means Ables is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy engages in all areas of warfare, and has a presence all around the world,” said Ables. "Our ability to meet those obligations is our greatest trait.”

Ables and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I'm most proud of maintaining my discipline and motivation for my nine years of service,” said Ables. "This gives me the self-confidence that I can finish my career the same way."

As Ables and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy makes me feel accomplished and fulfilled with my career,” said Ables. "I know that I am doing good things."

Ables is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank anyone out there who has provided me with support over the years,” said Ables. "There are too many people out there to name however, they know who they are."

“I am excited to be at the halfway point of my career,” added Ables. "It is exciting to know that I am at the top of the hill and ready to go down."

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