Lumberton native serves aboard USS Fitzgerald

Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Mason serves aboard the USS Fitzgerald.

A 2013 Lumberton High School graduate and Lumberton 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.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Mason is an electronics technician 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 Aug. 7, 1967, in Vietnam.

As a sailor with numerous responsibilities, Mason 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.

“I work on radar and communications equipment,” said Mason. “The radar equipment is for surface search and navigation, and the communication equipment communicates between other ships. They send out frequencies to find out if they are friend or foe.”

Mason 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.

“I enjoy meeting new people and the close-knit group we have, and I enjoy the work and keeping busy,” said Mason.

“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 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, Mason 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 satisfaction that what I am doing has an impact and has a meaning and purpose, and knowing that Ma and Pa are proud of the work I am doing,” said Mason.

— U.S. Navy

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