Gadsden native serves aboard Navy warship in Norfolk

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Petty Officer 1st Class Cameron Johnson, a native of Gadsden, is serving aboard a U.S. Navy warship operating out of Norfolk, Virginia.

Johnson graduated in 2007 from Gadsden City High School.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Gadsden.

“My hometown taught me to never take anything for granted,” Johnson said. “It also taught me to be humble and keep God first.”

Johnson joined the Navy 16 years ago. Today, Johnson serves as a culinary specialist aboard USS Ross.

“I joined the Navy to travel the world and for the educational benefits,” Johnson said. “I also wanted to experience different cultures around the world.”

USS Ross, a guided-missile destroyer, provides a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments.

A 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 USS Ross. Their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. Their jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry, alongside a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.

Serving in the Navy means Johnson is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy is important to national defense because we keep our country safe domestically and abroad,” Johnson said. “We are a force to be reckoned with, especially compared to other navies.”

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.

Johnson has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“My proudest accomplishment in the Navy is receiving a gold medal from the American Culinary Federation’s Annual Culinary Competition,” Johnson said. “My first year I competed against cooks from all the different branches. They gave us a mystery basket, and I gave them gold.”

As Johnson and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means everything to me,” said Johnson. “It provides me the ability to support my family and gives me opportunities that will last a lifetime.”

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

“I would like to thank my whole family, especially my mom for being there for me every day,” Johnson said. “Even while she was fighting cancer, she still pushed me.”

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