Lufkin, Texas native serves aboard USS New Orleans

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SAN DIEGO – A 2003 Diboll High School graduate and Lufkin, Texas, native is serving aboard USS New Orleans (LPD 18), one of the Navy’s newest and most advanced amphibious ships, designed to deliver Marines and their equipment to and from war zones.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Tom Pitts is an engineman aboard the San Diego-based San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. The ship is longer than two football fields at 684 feet, 105 feet wide and weighs more than 24,000 tons. Four diesel engines can push the ship through the water at more than 24 mph.

USS New Orleans is the fourth Navy ship to be named for the city of New Orleans, and is the second vessel in the San Antonio-class of high-tech amphibious assault ships.

As a 30 year-old with numerous responsibilities, Pitts said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person. He added that it is an exciting time to be in the Navy, and serving aboard a ship has truly made him a better person. “The Navy has given me a purpose and direction in my life,” said Pitts.

He also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the New Orleans’ 427-member crew, protecting and defending America on the world’s oceans. “Where ever the threat in the world comes from, the Navy allows us to travel and protect America’s interest overseas,” Pitts explained.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS New Orleans. Approximately 46 officers and 381 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines. Another 700 or so form the deployable Marine Corps battalion and New Orleans is capable of transporting the battalion and landing them in hostile territory via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and air-cushioned landing craft.

“New Orleans is truly a fine warship and it is our duty to bring her to life,” said Capt. Doug Verissimo, the ship’s commanding officer. “Our Sailors have been working very hard bringing her from a post-deployment repair period to our upcoming tactical integration with our Marine teammates. I feel an unparalleled sense of pride working alongside our nation’s finest.”

Collectively, the San Antonio-class ships will functionally replace more than 41 ships providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern sea-based platforms. Amphibious transport dock ships are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. These ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups. Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to also support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s high-tech amphibious assault ships, Pitts and other New Orleans sailors are proud to part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

“Serving in the Navy gives me a sense of accomplishment and a fulfillment in doing something that matters,” said Pitts.

 

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by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jamal McNeill, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

Lee Miller
Lee Miller was born in Denison, TX and grew up in East Texas with his family. He studied music education at Stephen F. Austin State University taking a job in television on his last day of student teaching. Lee also provides business authoritative expertise to the broadcast industry as a consultant. Presently he is CEO of MSG Resources LLC, which specializes in consulting within broadcast best practices, distribution technologies and media strategy mastery. - - - - - Lee Miller is a well-known veteran of the broadcast media industry with particular experience in leading for-profit and non-profit broadcasting organizations. His career began in Lufkin, Texas in the early 80’s where he progressed from studio operations to creative services and network management. Mr. Miller has since received various professional designations and memberships such as Society of Broadcast Engineers accredited frequency coordinator, The Energy Professionals Association Certified Energy Consultant, and National Religious Broadcasters Television Committee & past Chair. Lee also serves as the Executive Director of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, is a member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee and is proud to be part of Texas Association of Broadcasters Golden Mic Club, highlighting extraordinary careers in broadcasting. Continued engagement with his community is at the core of his business practices serving on the board of the Salvation Army and as keyboardist for the contemporary worship band at Harmony Hill Baptist Church. Lee lives near Lufkin Texas on one of his family’s tree farms located in the Texas Forest Country region north of Houston. He is married to Kenla and has two grown children, Joshua, COO of MSGPR Ltd Co and Morgan, a Critical Care ICU RN.

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