Lubbock native serves in Navy hunting mines in the Pacific - FOX34 Lubbock

Lubbock native serves in Navy hunting mines in the Pacific

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

(Press Release)

SAN DIEGO – A 2014 Coronado High School graduate and Lubbock, Texas, native is serving aboard an Avenger mine countermeasure ship designed to clear mines from vital waterways across the globe.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Donovan Stevens is a Navy engineman serving aboard USS Champion under the command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

As a Navy engineman, Stevens is responsible for operating and maintaining shipboard diesel engines and conducting fuel and oil testing.

“I enjoy the hands-on aspect of my work," said Stevens. "I believe my work helps to ensure the ship operates effectively.” 

Stevens credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Lubbock.

“It’s important to be disciplined and to understand that adversity is a part of life,” said Stevens. “These are skills that translate well in the Navy.”

Mine countermeasure ships are designed as mine sweepers/hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. These ships use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control. 

Hunting mines is a slow, laborious task that requires a ship to stay in one small area until it’s done, according to Navy reports. Since 1945, mines have sunk almost four times more US ships than all other threats combined, said Navy officials.

The worldwide threat, which today totals more than a million weapons of some 300 different types, from rudimentary but still-dangerous World War I-era contact mines to highly sophisticated, multiple-influence and programmable weapons, reports the Navy. These figures are for sea mines, proper; they do not include underwater-improvised explosive devices that can be fashioned from fuel bladders, 50-gallon drums, and even discarded refrigerators.

The ships use remotely operated mine disposal system and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) mine neutralization system. The disposal system detects, locates, classifies and neutralizes moored mines and mines resting on the seabed. The vehicle uses high-frequency, high-resolution sonar, low light level television, cable cutters and explosive charges to detect and dispose of mines, while remaining tethered to the vessel by a cable and under control of the vessel. Each ship accommodates a crew of 80. 

“I get to learn a lot about my job and other rates as well here on the Champion," said Stevens. "I think this has helped me become more knowledgeable and well rounded.”

As part of the Navy, Stevens explained that sailors are helping to build a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, including helping to develop new war-fighting capabilities to continue the Navy’s success on the world’s oceans.

“My uncle and grandfather influenced me to serve in the military. I respect them very much,” said Stevens. “Serving in the Navy is definitely a privilege that not everyone has the opportunity to experience. It has helped me gain a vast amount of knowledge and I've grown both personally and professionally.”

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