Farmville native serves aboard one of Navy’s most advanced warships
By Tim Miller
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Monday, November 5, 2018
NORFOLK, Va. – A 2005 South Central High School graduate and Farmville native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason.
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Calisha Teel is an operations specialist aboard the warship, based in Norfolk, Va. USS Mason is named after Secretary of the Navy John Young Mason and Distinguished Flying Cross Recipient Ensign Newton Henry Mason.
A Navy operations specialist is responsible for gathering, processing and evaluating information for the combat information center regarding surface contacts, cargo vessels, and any ocean activity.
“My job is definitely unique," Teel said. "I work with the greatest people and equipment available. I also enjoy leading and mentoring junior sailors.”
Teel credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Farmville.
“I learned from my family and community to think positively in every situation," Teel said. "This attitude has been helpful during my Navy career as I problem solve every day.”
U.S. Navy sailors, like Teel, are stationed both stateside and on the high seas aboard surface ships around the world. USS Mason is one of more than 60 ships on the east coast of the United States as part of Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
U.S. Navy ships are deployed globally, and their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is vital to project power, secure common areas, deter aggression and assure allies when and where desired.
Due to its extensive combat capability, the Mason is able to fire Tomahawk Cruise Missiles and other weapons as part of sustained combat operations against targets on and below the sea, in addition to hitting targets hundreds of miles over the land.
The ship is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which integrates the ship’s electronic sensors and weapons systems to defend against anti-ship missile threats. The ship’s air search and fire control radar provides continuous search and tracking of hundreds targets simultaneously.
The crew of more than 300 sailors build a strong fellowship while working alongside each other. The sailors are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions as part of a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“I like the tight-knit community on a destroyer," Teel said. "There is an opportunity to learn about many different jobs and be more versatile and valuable as a sailor.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Teel is most proud of receiving an associate's degree in health care management.
“It’s important because being in the medical field was always a goal, as was joining the Navy,” Teel said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Teel 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.
“Serving in the Navy means pride in knowing that families get to sleep restful because of what we are doing every day," Teel added. "I’m glad that my small job as a global impact.”