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Cabarrus Magazine

Concord, N.C. Native Serves Aboard Guided Missile Destroyer In Spain

May 16, 2016 02:57PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Lt. j.g. Shameeka Colon.

By U.S. Navy Lt. Philip Fortnam, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

A 2000 Page High School graduate, 2009 Excelsior College graduate and Concord, North Carolina native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Carney.

Lt. j.g. Shameeka Colon is an information warfare officer aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Rota, Spain. Carney is one of four destroyers home ported in Rota.

As the information warfare officer on the Carney, Colon leads a team of sailorsmaintaining and operating various communications and computer systems.

“I love the interactions with my sailors," said Colon. "I work with a diverse crew and it’s amazing to see how they work together and come together for the mission."

Commissioned in June 1996, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Carney, measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. It was named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Carney.

This ship has been fitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability that enables the ship to conduct long-range surveillance, tracking, and engagement of short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

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.

Assigned to U.S. 6th Fleet, sailors are on watch throughout the European region and are important assets supporting the European Phased Adaptive Approach to enhance the security of that area of the world from ballistic missile threats originating in the Middle East.

In addition to Carney, three other BMD capable ships are forwarded deployed in Rota: USS Porter, USS Donald Cook and USS Ross. Having four destroyers based in Rota gives the U.S. 6th Fleet flexibility to send these ships to a variety of locations for a range of missions, while at the same time providing a large umbrella of protection for European allies.

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 washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.

“By serving on this ship, I am enjoying the travel, the variety of foods, different cultures and seeing the world,” said Colon.

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Colon explained that she and other Carney sailors know they are part of a legacy that will be last beyond their lifetimes.

“I appreciate my freedom and I will fight for every Americans’ freedom,” added Colon.

About the USS Carney (DDG 64)

USS Carney (DDG 64) commissioned June of 1996 and named for former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Robert Carney.

USS Carney (DDG 64) returned to Rota, Spain March 13, 2016, after a four month patrol in in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

Carney departed Rota on November 7, 2015, beginning its first Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF) patrol in support of ballistic missile defense of Europe and Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Quick Facts:

  • While on patrol, Carney conducted ballistic missile defense, anti-submarine warfare, and theater security cooperation missions.
  • Carney visited to Haifa, Israel in Feb. 2016. While in Israel, Carney hosted the Israeli Minister of Defense and the United States Ambassador to Israel for a ship tour and joint press conference.
  • Carney visited Palma De Mallorca, Spain in March 2016. While in Spain, Sailors conducted a community relations project at a local animal shelter.
  • Carney's participation in combined underway tactical exchanges with allies and regional partners helped the United States continue its efforts to strengthen maritime partnerships throughout Europe.
  • Carney is the last of four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers to be forward deployed in theater.
  • Carney is now scheduled to begin a Chief of Naval Operations Selected Restricted Availability, focused on modernization in preparation for subsequent patrols in the U.S. 6th Fleet.
Link to Commanding Officer's Bio can be found here.

"Why Being There Matters"

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world's oceans give the Navy the power to protect America's interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world's oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America's finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times. 

Thank you very much for your support of the men and women in U.S. Navy, deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world's oceans.

Content courtesy Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach and the 

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