Meridian sailor sends Thanksgiving greetings
Nov. 24, 2000
By Gary Penton/Special to The Star
Thousands of service men and women will spend the holidays overseas, an ocean away from their families and friends in the United States.
Meridian's Derrick Rush is one of these sailors serving his country, ready at a moment's notice to place themselves in harm's way under the direction of the president. These sailors operate ships, submarines, and aircraft every day of the year to maintain the country's worldwide military presence.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Rush, the 21-year-old son of Betty Roberts of Meridian, serves aboard the repair ship USS Frank Cable, which is forward-deployed to Agana, Guam. As a hull maintenance technician, Rush performs welding, brazing, pipefitting and sheet metal fabrication.
The more than 1,000 sailors and officers of Frank Cable do not have a homeport like most U.S. Navy ships, but instead maintain a continual presence in foreign waters. It is a demanding assignment, requiring constant readiness.
The 649-foot-long Frank Cable is primarily a submarine tender, providing maintenance and logistic support for attack submarines.
However, Frank Cable's recent port visit to Yokosuka, Japan, was a valuable experience for the entire fleet. While in Japan, Frank Cable's crew completed repairs on seven Yokosuka-based surface ships and three visiting submarines. Those jobs included work aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, the destroyer USS O'Brien and the frigates USS Gary and USS Vandegrift.
Though being away from the United States for the holidays is difficult for many sailors, they learn to adjust to a foreign environment.
The hard work doesn't end after this trip. Rush and his shipmates will continue to provide repair services to the United States' Naval fleet, and protect America's interests abroad.
Gray Penton is a Navy public affairs officer assigned to the Navy Public Affairs Center at Naval Station San Diego.