NORFOLK, Va. — A 2012 Dumas High School graduate and Dumas native is serving aboard USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), one of the world’s most versatile multi-mission combat ships.
Seaman Khendle Joyner is an operations specialist aboard the Norfolk-based ship, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that is longer than 1.5 football fields at nearly 510 feet long. The ship is 66 feet wide and weighs more than 9,200 tons. Twin gas turbine engines can push the ship through the water at more than 30 mph. USS Forrest Sherman is named for Admiral Forrest Percival Sherman and is the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name.
As a 20-year-old with numerous responsibilities, Joyner said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person. He was inspired by family members to join the military.
“My granddad encouraged me to join the United States Navy and experience the things he never saw,” Joyner said.
As an operations specialist aboard the ship, he assists with shipboard navigation, plots combat surface and air contacts and operates surveillance radars.
He also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the Forrest Sherman’s crew, protecting America on the world’s oceans.
“We are the nerve center of the ship and we know everything before it happens,” Joyner said. “Nothing happens without us, and that gives me a sense of accomplishment, knowing I am a part of such a huge responsibility.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS Forrest Sherman. About 34 officers and 253 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the destroyer running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines.
“As John Paul Jones said, men mean more than guns in the way you run a ship and it’s still true today. It’s all about our people, I am proud and amazed by the knowledge they display and the work my sailors do every day,” said Cmdr. John A Krisciunas, the ship’s commanding officer. “Their professionalism, motivation and commitment to the Navy are genuinely inspiring.”
Fast, maneuverable and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute multi-mission evolutions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-air warfare. USS Forrest Sherman can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups and underway replenishment groups.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile combat ships, Joyner and other USS Forrest Sherman sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“I feel the Navy is rewarding and not a whole lot of people get to do what I do,” Joyner said. “When I wake up, put on the uniform and accomplish the mission, it gives me a sense of adulthood and I feel confident in what I do on a daily basis.”