Grand Prairie Native is a U.S. Navy Destroyer Sailor

SAN DIEGO – A Grand Prairie, Texas, native and 2012 South Grand Prairie High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Decatur.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesus Figueroa is an interior communications electricianaboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego.

A Navy interior communications electrician is responsible for troubleshooting and conducting maintenance on interior communications equipment such as phones, tv, and other electronics.

Figueroa credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up inGrand Prairie.

“Growing up I was taught to be humble,” said Figueroa. “Being from a small town we were taught to always work hard. In the Navy, it helps me stay motivated to keep pushing forward. It’s important to be humble because some people have nothing but the Navy is a great opportunity to gain skills and make a future.”

More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring dedication and skill, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignment that keep the ship mission-ready at all times.

“The success of the Decatur is due to the dedication and ownership each member of the crew feels towards making Decatur the best ship on the waterfront,” said Cmdr. Bob Bowen, commanding officer of USS Decatur. “Our team is always ready to accomplish the mission because of the commitment each sailor has to maintaining high standards and sound shipboard operating principles. Every team member knows their roles and responsibilities and does their part to ensure success.”

Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are 510 feet long and armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, Standard Missile-3 and newer variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems. 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 precondition for everything else the Navy does. It cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.

The ship has anti-aircraft capability armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter the threat to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.

Unique experiences build strong fellowship among the crew. 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.

“I am looking forward to experiencing a deployment with the Decatur,” said Figueroa. “I am excited for the new experiences I can gain while serving here.”

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

Figueroa is also proud of earning four Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

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

“Serving in the Navy makes the people I care about have pride in what I am doing,” added Figueroa. “It is an opportunity to be someone, a leader and a role model.”