By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steve Watterworth, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Photo by Dusty Good


NORFOLK, Va. — A Columbia, Mississippi, native and Columbia High School graduate, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Cavanaugh is a sonar technician surface aboard the destroyer operating out of the Navy’s largest base.  A Navy sonar technician surface is responsible for searching for submarines.

“Growing up I learned that working hard pays off,” Cavanaugh said.

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

Navy guided-missile destroyers like USS Mason are multi-mission ships that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. They are equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

“The Navy has made me more responsible in dealing with stress,” said Cavanaugh.

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

“The teamwork is great here,” Cavanaugh said. “The people are always willing to help out.”