An East Meadow native and 2012 East Meadow High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile cruiser, USS Chancellorsville.
Seaman Michael Moraitis is a culinary specialist aboard the forward deployed Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Chancellorsville is one of three cruisers forward-deployed in Yokosuka.
A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for providing the crew and officers with daily meals as well as maintain over 60 spaces.
“Growing up, I learned to respect authority and that hard work goes a long way,” said Moraitis. "Managing simple things well will take you far in life. This mindset applies to the work I do on the ship every day."
With more than 50 percent of the world's shipping tonnage and a third of the world's crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.
"Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values," said Adm. Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. "It's not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom."
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly, according to Navy officials. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.
Forward-deployed sailors are crucial to the success of the global Navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.
“I like the culture here in Japan, it's a different taste of life, literally because the food here is outstanding,” said Moraitis. “The fact that I've gone to see Mount Fuji is amazing. I'm proud of what I do and I enjoy cooking. It raises morale for the ship and it makes me feel good to see others enjoying what I do.”
Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions, explained Navy officials.
“I like being part of something bigger,” added Moraitis. "I feel fortunate that my future and education is taken care of."
A Navy cruiser is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and Phalanx close-in weapons systems.
Sailors play a vital role in the overall military mission around the world.
"The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Harris.