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An Ocean Away, Carmel Native Serves in U.S. Navy, Supports NATO Mission

2018-08-14T09:56:34+00:00August 14th, 2018|

*Editor’s note: The Indiana Chamber of Commerce proudly supports Indiana men and women serving in the military. This blog originally appeared here

A 2011 Carmel High School graduate and Carmel, Indiana, 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 2nd Class Tori Page is a fire controlman 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 is responsible for maintaining and operating the weapons systems throughout the ship and firing them when called upon.

Page credits success in the Navy with lessons learned growing up in Carmel.

“I learned the importance of being nice and treating people equally,” said Page.

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 Page, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Page is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“My grandfather served in the Navy,” said Page. “I was in college and decided I wanted to do something with my life, so I joined the Navy.”

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

Page is proud of earning a coin from the 6th Fleet Command Master Chief for being part of the “Top Shooter” team for Tomahawk missles.

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, Page 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.

“I’m almost finished with my degree and it has re-instilled my work ethic, which was fading before I joined the Navy,” said Page. “I enjoy traveling throughout Spain and Europe and taking advantage of the watersport opportunities wherever I go.”

Author: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt, Navy Office of Community Outreach