Troy native talks life on a guided-missile destroyer

By Devon Dow, U.S. Navy Public Affairs | Oct 12, 2012
Photo by: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow Seaman Robert Barnes, assigned to guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89), removes a chock and chain from a from a SH-60F Seahawk Helicopter assigned to the Chargers of helicopter anti-submarine squadron (HS) 14 during flight operations in support of U.S. Military Exercise Valiant Shield 2012 on Sept. 12.

Pacific Ocean — What would you consider a typical day for a 21-year-old? How about safely launching and recovering anti-submarine helicopters from a U.S. Navy warship’s flight deck in the Pacific Ocean?

For 21-year-old Robert Barnes from Troy, Maine, this is a daily routine.

Barnes is a U.S. Navy Sailor assigned to USS Mustin (DDG 89), a guided-missile destroyer forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. He is the son of Tom and Jill Barnes and is a graduate of Mount View High School, in Thorndike, class of 2009.

He enlisted in the Navy on June 9, 2010. Following his seamanship training at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. Barnes received orders to Mustin in September of 2011.

Currently living in Japan, more than 6,000 miles away from home, Barnes serves in the ship’s boatswain’s mate department ensuring the preservation of the ship through maintenance and performing sea and anchor operations, safely securing and releasing the ship when it arrives and departs from port.

His other duties include working on the ship’s replenishment at sea detail, providing the ship with the ability to receive mission essential supplies while at sea and as a member of the ship’s flight deck crew, handling the launch and recovery of anti-submarine helicopters.

“Before I joined the Navy I actually worked on a local lobster boat and simply fell in love with the ocean,” Barnes, said. “After talking with a good friend, who is currently serving in the Navy in Okinawa, Japan, I decided to sign up. Since I joined, things have been great for me.”

Barnes future goals in the Navy are to advance in rank and earn his enlisted surface warfare qualification. While Maine will always be his home, he is looking forward to exploring the world with the U.S. Navy, visiting new places and making new friends.

Since being assigned to Japan, Barnes has traveled to Malaysia, Republic of South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand.

“Leaving Maine for the first time was eye opening; I had never seen skyscrapers or large cities before, so one can imagine how I felt when I went to Tokyo for the first time,” he added. “While it was a bit of a culture shock at first, it has been an amazing experience. I understand that is helpful to set goals while in the Navy, but I focus on taking it one day at a time and doing what I do best, working hard everyday and give 100 percent.”

From Sept. 11 to 19, Barnes and the Mustin crew participated in the military exercise Valiant Shield (VS) 2012 off the coast of Guam.

VS12 was an integrated training exercise that allowed the opportunity to integrate Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps assets in a blue-environment. The exercise illustrated U.S. military readiness and capability to rapidly respond to any crisis anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

Barnes said since joining the Navy he has become a more focused, determined and responsible individual. He said he is looking at challenges and opportunities ahead of him and making family and local community proud during his naval career.

“I get a great deal of praise from my parents, I hear it a lot. It is pretty cool to know they are so supportive,” Barnes said. “The Navy and the state of Maine are a lot alike in my opinion, you don’t just step into either environment and immediately have everything go your way, you have to appreciate what you have, work hard and build upon it.”

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