YOKOSUKA – A Silver Springs, Maryland, native and 2003 Springbrook High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy forward-deployed aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Curtis Wilbur.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Demetrius Pope is a gas turbine systems technician (mechanical) aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. The ship routinely deploys to protect alliances, enhance partnerships, and be ready to respond if a natural disaster occurs in the region.
A Navy gas turbine systems technician (mechanical) is responsible for operating, repairing and performing organizational and intermediate maintenance on mechanical components of gas turbine engines, main propulsion machinery including gears, shafts and controllable pitch propellers.
Pope is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of Silver Springs.
“The best part about being at this command is the people,” said Pope. “We are a tight-knit community here.”
Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world ready at all times to defend America’s interests. 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. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
“I have been in Japan since 2012 and I love the faster pace here,” said Pope. “There’s never a dull moment.”
Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are 510 feet long and armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, Standard Missile-3 and newer variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems. Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups. Their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is the precondition for everything else the Navy does. It cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.
Curtis Wilbur has anti-aircraft capability armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter the threat to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Pope and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“I learned how to talk to people and get to understand their side of the story from being in the Navy,” said Pope.
Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet’s area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the 7th Fleet.