ROTA, Spain – A 2013 North Point High School graduate and Waldorf, Maryland, native is serving our country in the Navy, living on the coast of Spain, and participating in a critical NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) mission while assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jordan Peacock is a fire controlman (aegis) aboard one of the four advanced warships forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, a small village on the country’s southwest coast 65 miles south of the city of Seville.

A Navy fire controlman (aegis) is responsible for maintaining and operating Aegis weapon system equipment.

Peacock credits success in the Navy with lessons learned growing up in Waldorf.

“Back home, I learned that the most important people in your life are family and when you are sent to the ship to become part of the crew where everyone is so important, they become family,” said Peacock.

These four destroyers are forward-deployed in Rota to fulfill the United States’ phased commitment to NATO BMD while also carrying out a wide range of missions to support the security of Europe.

According to the NATO website, many countries have, or are trying to develop ballistic missiles. The ability to acquire these capabilities does not necessarily mean there is an immediate intent to attack NATO, but that the alliance has a responsibility to take any possible threat into account as part of its core task of collective defense.

U.S. Navy Aegis ballistic missile defense provides scalability, flexibility and mobility. These systems are equally beneficial to U.S. assets, allies and regional partners in all areas of the world. Positioning four ballistic missile defense ships in Spain provides an umbrella of protection to forward-deployed forces, friends and allies while contributing to a broader defense of the United States.

Guided-missile destroyers are 510 feet long warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. The ships are armed with tomahawk cruise missiles, advanced gun systems, close-in gun systems and long-range missiles to counter the threat to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.

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 necessity for everything the Navy does. The Navy cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.

The ship is named after Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam prisoner of war, U.S. Marine Corps Col. Donald G. Cook.

“Donald Cook’s crew is second to none in competency, resiliency and enthusiasm,” said Cmdr. Matthew J. Powel, commanding officer of USS Donald Cook. “This team comes in to work every day ready to accomplish the mission in one of the most demanding sea duty schedules the Navy has to offer and I couldn’t be more proud to be their captain.”

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Peacock, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Peacock is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“My father served 20 years in the U.S. Army,” said Peacock. “I grew up as an Army brat, priveledged to a lot of things early on. Of course when it comes to military, no luxury comes without sacrifice. I knew the military was the right route for me. The decision to join the Navy I credit to my mother’s family history of sailors and heritage.”

While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Peacock has found many great rewards.

Peacock is proud of earning his rate, successfully completing the fire controlman (aegis) training school and two deployments.

The hard work and professionalism of more than 300 women and men aboard Donald Cook are a testament to the namesake’s dedication and the ship’s motto, “Faith Without Fear.”

Unique experiences build strong fellowship among the crew of more than 300 women and men aboard USS Donald Cook. Their hard work and professionalism are a testament to the namesake’s dedication and the ship’s motto, “Faith Without Fear.” The crew is motivated, and can quickly adapt to changing conditions, according to Navy officials. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills. Serving aboard a guided-missile destroyer instills accountability and toughness and fosters initiative and integrity.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Peacock and other USS Donald Cook sailors know they are a part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Professionally speaking, I don’t think I could’ve put myself in a better position to be successful in a career full of sci-fi level technologies,” said Peacock. “The best thing about serving in Spain is that the weather is wonderful, the locals are very friendly and the opprtunities to travel around Europe are so easy.”