YOKOSUKA, Japan – A Beltsville, Maryland native and 2012 High Point High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile cruiser, USS Chancellorsville.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Zahrina Hutchins is a logistics specialist aboard the forward deployed Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Chancellorsville is one of three cruisers forward-deployed in Yokosuka.
A Navy logistics specialist is responsible for purchasing and procurement, shipping and receiving, and issuing of equipment, tools, consumable items or anything else obtained through the naval supply system.
“Growing up I learned from my brother to always follow through with what I start, even if I don’t like it which helps in my Navy career,” said Hutchins.
With more than 50 percent of the world's shipping tonnage and a third of the world's crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.
"Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values," said Adm. Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. "It's not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom."
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly, according to Navy officials. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.
Forward-deployed sailors are crucial to the success of the global Navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.
“I really enjoy the culture and experiences in Japan. I'm the first person in my family to join the military and I believe I made a great choice,” said Hutchins. “I’m proud of the fact that I’m able to be self-sufficient. Additionally, finishing my degree in psychology during my time in the Navy is a great accomplishment.”
Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions, explained Navy officials.
“We get to do things that most people never have the opportunity to do," added Hutchins. "It's an honor to work with different people from all over the world.”
A Navy cruiser 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 a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and Phalanx close-in weapons systems.
Sailors play a vital role in the overall military mission around the world.
"The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Harris.