Encinitas native serving aboard U.S. Navy destroyer


A 2004 San Dieguito Academy High School graduate and Encinitas native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Milius.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Hewitt is an interior communications specialist aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of San Diego.

A Navy interior communications specialist is responsible for maintenance on all the interior communications within the ship, including phone systems and alarm systems.

“I enjoy having the ability to be able to go overseas,” said Hewitt. “I’ve never seen the world, and the Navy has given me that opportunity. “

Commissioned in November of 1996, Milius measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. 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.

“Leading Milius sailors is exceptionally rewarding because they genuinely care for one another as people,” said Cmdr. Gil Ayan, commanding officer of USS Milius. “They want to see one another succeed and each of them works toward that collective goal. As a commanding officer, you can’t ask for a better culture than that.”

With a crew of over 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.

“Being on a destroyer, I get to serve on a smaller ship,” said Hewitt. “Everyone knows each other and it’s such a tight-knit community. People know you by name, whereas on a big deck, you don’t always get that.”

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.

“Being in the Navy, you get respect from your shipmates,” added Hewitt. “I’m more respected because of I serve in the military.”