Port Arthur sailor serves aboard the USS Sherman

Keyunta Venzant (inset) from Port Arthur serves aboard the USS Sherman.

NORFOLK, Va. – A 2011 Port Arthur Memorial High School graduate and Port Arthur native is serving aboard USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), one of the world’s most versatile multi-mission combat ships.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Keyunta Venzant is an information systems technician aboard the Norfolk-based ship, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, that is longer than 1.5 football fields at nearly 510 feet. The ship is 66 feet wide and weighs more than 9,200 tons. Twin gas turbine engines can push the ship through the water at more than 30 mph. USS Forrest Sherman is named for Admiral Forrest Percival Sherman, and is the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name.

As a 21-year-old with numerous responsibilities, Venzant said she is learning about herself as a leader, sailor and a person. 

“The Navy is giving me the opportunity to take college classes,” said Venzant. “I have a goal of earning a master of science.”

She also said she is proud of the work she is doing as part of the Forrest Sherman’s crew, protecting America on the world’s oceans. “Being a part of this ship makes me feel good,” said Venzant. “We learn more because of diversity on the crew. When all shipmates work together it’s a really good outcome.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS Forrest Sherman. Approximately 34 officers and 253 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the destroyer running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines.

“As John Paul Jones said, men mean more than guns in the way you run a ship and it’s still true today. It’s all about our people, I am proud and amazed by the knowledge they display and the work my sailors do every day,” said Cmdr. John A. Krisciunas, the ship’s commanding officer. Their professionalism, motivation and commitment to the Navy are genuinely inspiring.”

Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required war-fighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute multi-mission evolutions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-air warfare. USS Forrest Sherman can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile combat ships, Venzant and other USS Forrest Sherman sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Venzant. “It’s a good feeling to know that, bad things could be happening out there, but we keep them from happening.”

— Lieutenant Chad Murphy, Navy Office of Community Outreach