Blue Ridge grad serving aboard combat ship USS Tulsa

Published on Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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Petty Officer 1st Class Steven S. Whitsitt

U.S. Navy Photo

Petty Officer 1st Class Steven S. Whitsitt




A 2000 Blue Ridge High School graduate and Greer native is serving aboard the future USS Tulsa, a combat ship home ported in San Diego. 

Petty Officer 1st Class Steven S. Whitsitt is a mineman responsible for hunting and neutralizing mines for safe passage of other ships. “The fact that I’ve been able to work with people from all walks of life has made my Navy career enjoyable,” said Whitsitt.

"The diversity in the Navy is so vast, it’s amazing that I’ve been able to rub elbows with people that I never would have had the chance to if it weren’t for the Navy."

Littoral combat ships are a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking, and win against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft.

Whitsitt has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.  “The lesson of family and friends first resonated with me,” Whitsitt said. "No matter where I’m stationed, there’s always the opportunity to build new friendships, where those you’re stationed with are like family. On the ship, we’re all we have while out to sea."

The Tulsa has a core of 70 men and women. Minimally manned crews place high demands on sailors. Each crew member performs a number of tasks outside of their traditional job or area of expertise. “On any given day Tulsa sailors are asked to perform the duties of two or more sailors on any other surface ship,” said Cmdr. Drew Borovies, the future USS Tulsa’s commanding officer.

Whitsitt has military ties with family members.

“Both of my grandfathers served in World War II. One was in the Navy and the other in the Army,” said Whitsitt. “They both passed away before they could see me put on the uniform, but I know that they would be proud.”

Whitsitt said his wife and kids are his biggest supporters. “If it weren’t for them having my back, cheering me on and loving me, I would not have stayed in the Navy as long as I have,” Whitsitt said. "When my kids tell their friends that their daddy is in the Navy and is on a long work trip, their understanding of what a deployment is, it makes me feel good that they appreciate what I do."

The USS Tulsa’s commissioning service is Feb. 16, in San Francisco, when the warship will be officially placed into active service.

By Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Williams, for Navy Office of Community Outreach.





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