By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach
ATLANTIC OCEAN - A 2018 Abbeville High School graduate and native of Abbeville, Louisiana, is serving aboard USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), a guided-missile destroyer, currently conducting operations in the Atlantic Ocean.
Seaman Apprentice Clayton E. Rachalla is part of the aviation team responsible for assisting helicopters in taking off and landing on the ship.
"I help with on loading and offloading supplies," Rachalla said. "Without me, the helicopters can't land or take off from the flight deck."
Thomas Hudner is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer homeported in Mayport, Florida, named in honor of U.S. naval aviator Thomas Hudner, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in trying to save the life of his wingman, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare.
"What I enjoy most is meeting new people and seeing how they live, and learning about their backgrounds," Rachalla said.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Rachalla's proudest accomplishment is not losing motivation, and being in high spirit in everything that he does.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Rachalla, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Rachalla is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My grandfather served in the Army as a ground scout in the 1980s and my stepdad, Woodrow Bossley, served as a medic in the Navy," Rachalla said.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Rachalla, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
"Joining the military is a great choice, you just have to continue to keep your head up," Rachalla added.