Savannah Native Serves Aboard U. S. Navy Guided-Missile Destroyer in Pearl Harbor


Joint Base Pearl

Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii

A 2016 Woodville Tompkins Technical and Career High School graduate and Savannah, Georgia, native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Halsey.

Fireman Darel M. McGee works as a Navy gas turbine systems technician (mechanical) aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii.

McGee credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Savannah.

“My hometown taught me that nothing is ever given to you,” said McGee. “If you want something, you got to go get it. With real hard work everything will pay off in the end.”

Halsey 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 gas turbine systems technician (mechanical), McGee is responsible for the maintenance, operation and repair of four gas turbine engines and three gas turbine generators that provide propulsion to the ship.

Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means McGee 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 McGee, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. McGee is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“My great granddad served in the Army and fought in WWII. My uncle served in the Marines and my aunt was a cook in the Navy,” said McGee. “Listening to their stories about traveling and opportunities the military has to offer is what inspired me to join.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, McGee is most proud of graduating from basic training and successfully completing gas turbine systems technician training school.

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