Salisbury native serves with the US Navy half a world away

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 29, 2018

By Robert Zahn

Navy Office of Community Outreach
YOKOSUKA, Japan — A Salisbury native and 2015 Salisbury High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Blue Ridge.
Fireman Michael Dyson is a machinist’s mate aboard the ship operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. The ship routinely deploys to protect alliances, enhance partnerships, and be ready to respond if a natural disaster occurs in the region.
A Navy machinist’s mate operates, maintains and repairs ship propulsion machinery, auxiliary equipment and outside machinery.
Dyson is proud to serve in the Pacific and has fond memories of Salisbury.
“My dad taught me the importance of working hard,” said Dyson. “I’ve taken this with me in the Navy, because you have to be prepared before going underway, and that all takes a lot of hard work.”
More than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil pass through the region.
The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, said Navy officials.
The USS Blue Ridge serves as the flagship for the 7th Fleet. It is one of only two Navy command ships in the world, providing command and control for fleet commanders.
“Nothing can replace home, but I get to serve in Japan, a place that most people never get to visit, and that’s a great opportunity,” Dyson said.
As a member of one of the Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Dyson and other sailors are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“Serving in the Navy has definitely improved my life,” Dyson said. “It’s fun, and I enjoy my job. I get to work on diesel engines all day.”
The 7th Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India-Pakistan border and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Its area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population.
The fleet includes 50 to 70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and about 20,000 sailors.