During this Women’s History Month of March, a Montgomery area native and sailor and 2013 Prattville High School graduate is serving aboard USS Hopper, named for Rear Adm. Grace Hopper.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Blessing has served in the Navy for three years and works as a Navy yeoman, serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer.
Blessing credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Prattville.
“I learned the very important lesson of attention to deatil growing up in Alabama,” said Blessing. “I do a lot of paperwork and it has helped me implement a meticulous work ethic while performing my job.”
The sailors’ jobs aboard USS Hopper are highly specialized, requiring dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments keeping the ship mission-ready at all times.
More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship named for the pioneering computer scientist who served in the Navy for 43 years.
The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world's population, many of the world's largest and smallest economies, several of the world's largest militaries, and many U.S. allies. The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Blessing is most proud of being a part of the ship’s Visit, Board, Search and Seizure team during their 2017 deployment.
“I received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for the work we completed on that team,” said Blessing. “It was an awesome experience and always something I looked forward to.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Blessing, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Blessing is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My great grandfather was a master diver in the Navy and my granddad served in the Air Force,” said Blessing. “My granddad absolutely influenced me to join the military. He raised me and taught me everything I know. I'm very grateful to him. I'm just trying to fill the shoes of my grandfather and great grandfather.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Blessing and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving on the Hopper has definitely been a culture shock and learning experience,” added Blessing. “I was expecting to be forward deployed more, but it’s still been a great and positive experience in my life.”