*The Indiana Chamber proudly supports Indiana men and women serving in the military. This blog post originally appeared here.
A 2016 Zionsville Community High School graduate and Zionsville, Indiana, native provides key support as part of combat operations aboard USS Philippine Sea.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Luke Derocher is a Navy information systems technician aboard the guided-missile cruiser.
An information systems technician is responsible for performing core and specialty functions of communications operations, message processing, and network administration and security.
“The best part of my job is working with computers,” Derocher said. “I love being around computers, messing with them, taking them apart and putting them back together.”
Derocher credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Zionsville.
“Growing up I was taught to never settle, to be thick skinned so when things got hard you worked harder,” Derocher said.
U.S. Navy sailors, like Derocher, are stationed both stateside and on the high seas aboard surface ships around the world. Philippine Sea is one of more than 60 ships on the east coast of the United States as part of Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
U.S. Navy ships are deployed globally, and their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is vital to project power, secure common areas, deter aggression and assure allies when and where desired.
Due to its extensive combat capability, Philippine Sea is able to fire Tomahawk Cruise Missiles and other weapons as part of sustained combat operations against targets on and below the sea, in addition to hitting targets hundreds of miles over the land.
The ship is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which integrates the ship’s electronic sensors and weapons systems to defend against anti-ship missile threats. The ship’s air search and fire control radar provides continuous search and tracking of hundreds targets simultaneously.
The crew of more than 400 sailors build a strong fellowship while working alongside each other. The sailors are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions as part of a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“The most rewarding part about being at my command is that we are a small community so it is easy to know everybody and it is easier to build connections,” Derocher said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Derocher and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy gives me a chance to be something bigger than myself and it gives me something to look back at in the future and be proud of,” Derocher said.
Story and Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana, Navy Office of Community Outreach