BATH, Maine – A 2009 A.C. Flora High School graduate and Columbia, South Carolina native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Rafael Peralta.
Lt. j.g. Conor Hozey is a gunnery officer aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Bath, Maine.
A Navy gunnery officer is in charge of ensuring all gun systems are properly maintained and operated as well as all the ship’s small arms.
“It’s easy to get along with everyone here because we all have the same goal, which is getting this ship ready to deploy and conduct its mission successfully,” said Hozey.
Currently under construction, Rafael Peralta measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.
“The men and women of Peralta are the best and brightest our great nation has to offer in defense of our ideals and way of life,” said Cmdr. Brian Ribota, Commanding Officer of USS Rafael Peralta. “They are an impressive group of volunteer patriots who all citizens of this great nation should be proud of. It is an honor to stand the watch alongside them onboard this amazing ship built in the best shipyard in America, Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine.”
With a crew of over 300 sailors, jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
“It’s neat to see the development of a brand new naval vessel. This is a unique opportunity to see the work and effort put in to building this ship and preparing it to go out into the Navy,” said Hozey.
Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
“We are all called to do something for our society and I feel like this is my role. Serving in the Navy is a tradition in my family and I feel like it is my duty to contribute my part by becoming a Navy officer,” said Hozey.