A Cambridge, Minnesota, native recently completed three deployments in the European Area of Operation.

Petty Officer Third Class Derek Dowell is a 2016 Cambridge-Isanti High School graduate. Today, Dowell serves as an electronics technician trained in electrical engineering, computer and aerospace.

“We also help operate and manage the electronics systems and subsystems of the world’s most advanced ships and aircraft, as well as, on bases ashore,” Dowell said.

Dowell joined the Navy three years ago to continue a family tradition of military service.

“My father, grandfather and great grandfather joined the military,” Dowell said. “I wanted to continue their legacy.”

USS Ross is a Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer named after Captain Donald Kirby Ross. On Dec. 7, 1941, Ross furnished power to USS Nevada, and as a result, it was the only ship to be underway during the attack.

According to Navy officials, guided-missile 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.

Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers, Dowell is most proud of being a comms tech aboard a warship.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Dowell, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a tradition providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Freedom is not free, so I feel as if I’m serving for the privilege to be an American,” added Dowell.

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