Newton native serves on one of Navy’s most versatile warships



By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Rae Moreno, Navy Office of Community Outreach

(Mayport, Fla.) – A 2001 Newton-Conover High School graduate and Newton, North Carolina, native provides key support as part of combat operations aboard Littoral Combat Ship the USS Saint Louis, stationed at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Barber serves as a gunner’s mate and is responsible for all the weapons and helping with security of the ship.

Barber credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Newton.

“Working on a farm, my parents instilled in me the value of hard work,” said Barber. “That helps me in the Navy everyday.”

The USS Saint Louis is a fast, agile, mission-focused- platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

The ship’s technological benefits allow for swapping mission packages quickly, meaning sailors can support multiple missions, such as surface warfare, mine warfare, or anti-submarine warfare. Designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft, littoral combat ships are a bold departure from traditional Navy shipbuilding programs. The LCS sustainment strategy was developed to take into account the unique design and manning of LCS and its associated mission modules.

According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is a long one. Following an 18-month training pipeline, sailors have to qualify on a simulator that is nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training pipeline allows sailors to execute their roles and responsibilities immediately upon stepping onboard.

Barber is now a part of a long-standing tradition of serving in the Navy our nation needs.

“My uncle served in the military,” said Barber. “When I first got in, I got a lot of good advice from him. It’s nice to have that connection.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Barber is most proud of serving overseas.

“I am very proud to have served on six overseas deployments,” said Barber. “I’ve seen things most people never get to see.”

Barber is playing an important part 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.”

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

Serving in the Navy, Barber is learning about being a more respectable leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.

“Serving means a lot to me after 18 years,” ” said Barber. “I have served my country with excellence.”

Author: Niakeya James