By Tom Gagnier
Navy Office of Community Outreach
NORFOLK, Va. – A Birmingham native and A.H. Parker High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Kendra Smith is a culinary specialist aboard the destroyer operating out of the Navy’s largest base. A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for preparing and managing food and dining services for the crew.
“Hard work pays off and can make you successful in what you do,” Smith said. “I have always been surrounded by hard-working people.”
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.
Smith has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My father, uncle, and grandfather all served in the military,” Smith said. “The Navy has helped me to understand people more. Everyone has different ideas and opinions. I am able to accept them more now.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Smith and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“We are all a united family here on the Mason,” Smith said. “It really makes it easier to deal with being away from our own families.”