SAN DIEGO – A 2013 McAllen Memorial High School graduate and McAllen, Texas native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Sterett.

Fireman Jonathan Leal is a hull technician aboard the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego.

A hull technician in the Navy is responsible for maintaining shipboard plumbing and marine sanitation systems, repair small boats, operate and maintain ballast control systems, and manage the Quality Assurance Program.

“The best part of my job is the people I work with,” said Leal.

Commissioned in August of 2008, Sterett measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Sterett is the fourth ship to be named after Lt. Andrew Sterett, a U.S. naval officer who fought in the Quasi and Barbary wars.

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.

With a crew of more than 300 sailors, jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.

“What makes my command the best in the fleet is the camaraderie with a work environment where everyone helps each other out,” said Leal.

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.

“I think it's great to serve and I feel like I am doing something great for my country, family, and friends,” said Leal.