By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tom Gagnier, Navy Office of Community Outreach
NORFOLK, Va – A Daingerfield, Texas, native and 1996 Daingerfield High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Kearsarge.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Danny Gilbert is a damage controlman aboard the amphibious transport dock operating out of Norfolk.
Kearsarge, one of the Navy’s most advanced amphibious ships, is designed to deliver Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts.
A Navy Damage Controlman is responsible for doing the work necessary for damage control, ship stability, firefighting, fire prevention, and chemical, biological and radiological warfare defense. They also instruct personnel in the methods of damage control and chemical, biological and radiological defense, and repair damage control equipment and systems.
“It’s not where you came from, but where you’re going, that matters most,” Gilbert said. “Daingerfield High School football games on Friday nights were a big-time event in my home town.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS Kearsarge. More than 400 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 700 Marines can be embarked. USS Kearsarge is capable of transporting Marines and landing them where they are needed via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and landing craft
"The success of our Surface Force ships is measured by our ability to provide Fleet Commanders with combat naval power at sea and to project that power ashore where and when it matters," said Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "It's hard work to ready ships for combat operations at sea - it takes the talent of an entire crew working well together. I'm extremely proud of the each and every surface warrior's contributions to the Navy's enduring mission of protecting and defending America, at home and around the world."
These amphibious transport dock ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups. Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.
Gilbert has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“I have a brother and cousin serving in the Navy, and uncles serving in the Air Force,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert’s proudest accomplishment is receiving five Navy Acheivement Medals over his career, and participating in humanitarian efforts following hurricane Katrina. Gilbert also was Junior Sailor of the Year while serving at the Navy Reserve Professional Development Center (NRPDC) in New Orleans, La.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Gilbert and other USS Kearsarge sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“Serving in the Navy has allowed me to grow as a person and as a leader,” Gilbert said. “Monitoring the progress of the crew of USS Kearsarge on the effectiveness of damage control is of great importance to me. They continue to impress.”