A 2014 Coffee County Central High School graduate and Manchester native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Chung-Hoon.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Kathrine Ball works as a Navy damage controlman aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
While she now also has ties to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Winter Springs, Florida, Ball credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Manchester.
“My hometown taught me to use my patience where I can,” said Ball. “It’s helped when I cannot get someone higher in the chain of command to understand my point of view or if they don’t comprehend how I’m explaining something.”
Chung-Hoon measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve more than 30 mph in open seas.
Approximately 30 officers and 300 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines and handling weaponry to washing dishes and preparing meals.
As a Navy damage controlman, Ball serves as the Navy’s version of a firefighter, responding to fires, floods, structural damages, toxic gas or hazmat spills and more.
According to Navy officials, 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.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Ball is serving in a part of the world taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Ball, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Ball is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My grandfather, who passed in 2013 when I was considering joining, served in the Army during the Vietnam War,” said Ball. “He encouraged me to join the Navy to reach my goals.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Ball is most proud of re-enlisting for six more years prior to arriving in Hawaii.
“I had a slow-going and rocky start, but I turned it around and pulled myself from the ditch and onto the road to set myself right,” Ball said. “As soon as I did that, I began to work hard at learning my job and being the best I could with the training.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Ball and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“I love the tight-knit community on this ship, but I think we’re more of a family,” added Ball. “Serving in the Navy has given me the opportunity to travel to new countries and experience other cultures. It’s always fun to learn something new about a place I may not have known existed.”