ROTA, Spain — A 2003 Mountain Valley High School graduate and Roxbury native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Ross.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Arsenault is a gas turbine systems technician (mechanical) aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Rota.

He’s responsible for keeping the ship’s engines working.

“I like working with my hands and the fast-paced environment here on the Ross,” Arsenault said.

Commissioned in June 1997, the destroyer measures about 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. It was named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Donald K. Ross. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This ship has been fitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense capability that enables the ship to conduct long-range surveillance, tracking and engagement of short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Assigned to U.S. 6th Fleet, sailors are on watch throughout the European region and are important assets supporting the European Phased Adaptive Approach to enhance the security of that area of the world from ballistic missile threats originating in the Middle East.

About 30 officers and 300 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.

“The best part about serving aboard this ship is being home-ported in Rota, Spain,” Arsenault said. “Europe is great.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Arsenault explained that he and other Ross sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“The Navy has been great to me,” Arsenault added. “I grew up in a small town, but I have been able to see the world and get paid for it.”


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