JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – A 2007 River View High School graduate and West Lafayette native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Preble.

Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Pizzino works as a Navy hull maintenance technician aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Pizzino credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in West Lafayette.

"One lesson I’ve learned from my hometown is that hard work and dedication goes a long way in day to day life," said Pizzino. "I’m the kind of person that needs goals and challenges in life and the Navy provides that every day."

Preble measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve more than 30 mph in open seas.

Approximately 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 maintaining engines and handling weaponry to washing dishes and preparing meals.

As a Navy hull maintenance technician, Pizzino is responsible for all welding, brazing and fabrication for the ship.

According to Navy officials, destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required war-fighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.

Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Pizzino is serving in a part of the world taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

"Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships," said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. "Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities."

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Pizzino, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Pizzino is honored to carry on that family tradition.

"My three uncles served in the Navy, Marines and Army and my grandfather served in WWII as well as several other distant family members," said Pizzino.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Pizzino is most proud of earning three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, three good conduct medals, a recruiting ribbon and three warfare pins.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Pizzino 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.

"This is my first destroyer and that meant I got to learn an entire new aspect of my job. This ship is very hands-on and has a lot of junior sailors who are willing to learn from me as I learn from them," added Pizzino. "Serving in the Navy means I have learned a trade that is very useful in the civilian world and I feel I’m setting myself up for success after the Navy."

(Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class serves with the Navy Office of Community Outreach office).