MAYPORT, FLA.—A 2018 Cocke County High School graduate and Newport native, provides key support as part of combat operations aboard Surface Division Two One, stationed at Naval Station in Mayport, Florida.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Harris serves as a gunner’s mate responsible for technician for small arms up to mounted cannons.
Harris credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Newport.
“Growing up in Newport in a military family I learned how to be able follow directions with a positive attitude,” said Harris. “Being able to follow the directions of my superiors makes my job easier and their jobs easier.”
LCS 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.
Harris is now a part of a long-standing tradition of serving in the Navy the nation needs.
“I come from a military family,” said Harris. “I was in Navy junior ROTC in high school, so I learned a lot about the Navy from my instructors and had a strong foundation to go into the Navy with.”
Harris is part of a war fighting team that readily defends America at all times.
“My proudest accomplish was making third class,” said Harris. “Coming fresh in and making rank is something that I’m proud of because it wasn’t handed to me. I had to work hard to earn it.”
Harris 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, Harris and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
Serving in the Navy, Harris is learning about being a more respectable leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.
“Serving in the Navy means the world to me because I wanted to serve since I was 13,” said Harris. “Because I come from such a strong military background I’ve always wanted to be a part of it.”