Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Askia Collins, Destroyer Squadron 15
TAMPA, Fla. – A Tampa, Florida, native and Tampa Bay Technical High School class of 2010 graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy while assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher B. Vuncannon is an operations specialist, or OS2, serving as part of the staff of CTF 71/DESRON 15 out of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.
“I enjoy the tactical challenging aspect of my rate,” said Vuncannon. “We are required to be able to think quickly, drawing on a large reserve of tactical and procedural knowledge and make calculations on the fly in the fast-paced and information-saturated environment of naval combat operations at sea.”
“Our daily work schedule can be very intense and stressful while the ship is underway. Operational tempos go from next to no contacts in the middle of an ocean to dozens,” said Vuncannon. “The Combat Information Center or the Combat Direction Center is the tactical nerve center of the ship. Using a wide variety of assets available to them, operations specialists are responsible for the organized collection, processing, display, competent evaluation and rapid dissemination of pertinent tactical combat information to command and control stations, upon which sound tactical decisions may be made.”
CTF-71/DESRON 15 staff members exercise TACON of assigned ships to plan, direct, monitor and assess theater prosecutions, shadow and collection operations, freedom of navigation operations, straits transits, SMS defense operations, surface action group (SAG) operations and other missions assigned. CTF-71 is responsible for allocation of assigned ships in supporting relationships to other Task Forces and warfare commanders.
We provide the ship critical information about our adversaries and their maneuvering capabilities,” said Vuncannon. “If radar systems are down, it is a handicap to our ship’s mission. That pressure motivates me to put in the long hours, if need be, to ensure our ship and crew is always ready at a moment’s notice.”
“Being nominated and winning the Junior Sailor of the Quarter 3 rd Quarter for my previous command COMMANDER SIXTH FLEET Naples Italy, I am expected to be a subject matter expert in my chosen rate, and to be able to teach that knowledge to my fellow peers,” said Vuncannon. “I constantly work towards expanding my knowledge because I want to excel at the level I am expected to perform at as a Second Class who is striving to become a First Class Petty Officer.”
Task Force 71/DESRON 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.