//Valdosta native serving aboard USS Bunker Hill

Valdosta native serving aboard USS Bunker Hill

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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brandie Nuzzi, USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN – A 2015 Valdosta High School graduate and Valdosta, Georgia, native is serving aboard USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, currently conducting maritime operations in the Pacific Ocean.

Gunner’s Mate (GM) 3rd Class Shanae Spencer arrived aboard Bunker Hill in Sept. 2020, three months before the ship deployed to the Indo-Pacific.

Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating a highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.

Spencer joined the Navy in order to provide stability and opportunity to her children.

“I joined the Navy to be a part of something bigger,” said Spencer. “I definitely didn’t have the best childhood, but my parents did what they could to provide for me. I personally struggled a lot and came across a lot of financial difficulties, so joining the Navy has been a huge financial blessing for me and my family.”

In addition to providing for her children, Spencer plans to use tuition assistance provided by the Navy to continue her education.

“Eventually, I want to go back to college to get my physical therapy license or a degree in chemical engineering,” said Spencer. “I plan on staying in the Navy for 20 years, but I definitely want to get my degree.”

Spencer is focused on her goals, but also knows how important self-care is during a deployment.

“It can be hard at times when you are away from family and friends, and all the people that you care about,” said Spencer. “Bunker Hill is my home away from home. The sailors on board have become like family.”

Being in the Navy has brought Spencer a lot of mentors and friends, and although she misses her children, she knows they are waiting at home for her and will be there when her deployment ends.

USS Bunker Hill, homeported in San Diego, was named for the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolutionary War. 

According to Navy officials, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers are multi-mission ships that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ships are equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, and small arms.

Bunker Hill, part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. 7th Fleet’s area of operation 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 Pacific, providing security and stability to the region. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security while conducting a wide-range of missions to support humanitarian efforts and uphold international laws and freedoms of the sea.