HICKAM, Hawaii — A 2011 Jackson Center High graduate and Jackson Center, Ohio, native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Michael Murphy.
Seaman Blake Zimpfer is a quartermaster aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
A Navy quartermaster is responsible for the safe navigation of the ship, and often trained to take weather forecasts.
“I’m up in the bridge, so I get to see everything,” said Zimpfer. “I can interact with a lot of the ship’s leadership, and it’s a real privilege to be on the Michael Murphy.”
Michael Murphy, measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve more than 30 mph in open seas.
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 warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.
“Our Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific guided-missile destroyers are poised, trained, equipped and ready to deploy forward and support the Fleet,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “Working with friends and allies, our MIDPAC sailors provide sea control, advance maritime security, enhance regional stability, and foster continued prosperity in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”
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.
“I’ve always wanted to travel, and the Navy provides great experience, educational opportunities and a chance to get out and see the world,” said Zimpfer.
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.
“Serving in the Navy is the chance to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Zimpfer. “I have a strong sense of pride in knowing that I’m able to make a difference in the world.”