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SASEBO, Japan - A Wilson native and 2013 Hunt High School graduate is serving in Japan in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Germantown.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Markus Hendrix is an information systems technician aboard the ship operating out of Sasebo, Japan.
A Navy information systems technician is responsible for the networks and communications on and off the ship.
"I'm good at the radio side, good at troubleshooting, diagnosing and fixing the network, making sure all the network profiles on the computers work," said Hendrix.
With more than 50 percent of the world's shipping tonnage and a third of the world's crude oil passing through the region, the U.S. has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.
"Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values," said Adm. Harry Harris, U.S. Pacific Command commander. "It's not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self-Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom."
Commissioned in 1986, Germantown is the second Navy ship named after the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown. With a crew of more than 900 sailors and Marines, Germantown is 609 feet long and weighs about 16,000 tons. Designed specifically to operate landing craft air cushion small craft vessels, Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships have the largest capacity for these landing craft out of any U.S. Navy amphibious ship.
"I like serving in Japan because I get to see a new culture and explore new places," Hendrix said. "Everyone is super nice here and respectful."
Sea duty is inherently arduous and challenging but it builds strong fellowship and esprit de corps among members of the crew. The crew is highly motivated and quickly adapts to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
"My dad was in the Navy, and he's definitely proud of me and I like knowing that he is proud of me," Hendrix said. "His very first ship was the Germantown, so I think it is pretty cool that we have both served on the same ship."
The Navy's presence in Sasebo is part a longstanding commitment.
"The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Harris.
Chief Petty Officer Bill Steele works in the Navy Office of Community Outreach.