Andalusia native serving aboard USS Monterey

Published 9:15 am Thursday, February 3, 2022

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An Andalusia native is serving aboard USS Monterey, a U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter Barnes is a 2015 Straughn High School graduate. Today, Barnes is a Navy gas turbine system technician (electrical) responsible for the operation, maintenance, and repair of the Navy’s gas turbine engines, main propulsion machinery, propulsion control systems, and assigned auxiliary equipment.

“I love the people I work with the most,” said Barnes. “I work on turbines and electrical equipment on a daily basis and the work is really interesting, but the people I work with are easily the pride and joy of my job.”

Barnes joined the Navy five years ago to broaden his horizons.

“I joined the Navy as a way to escape my hometown,” said Barnes. “Too often, I see the people I grew up around say they wish they would have left when they were younger and when they had the chance, so I took my chance while I had it.”

According to Barnes, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Andalusia.

“Work ethic and leadership skills are qualities I learned growing up in the South while working on a farm the majority of my life and participating in team sports,” said Barnes.

USS Monterey is the fourth U.S. Navy vessel named for the Battle of Monterey at Monterey, Nuevo Leon during the Mexican-American War in 1846.

According to Navy officials, a guided-missile cruiser is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns, and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

Serving in the Navy means Barnes is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy contributes to national defense by being a presence,” said Barnes. “Letting the world know that any miscalculation on their part has major consequences when you have a fleet of U.S. ships knocking at your door prepared to defend any and all citizens worldwide.”

Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community, and careers, Barnes is most proud of being “thrown into the fire” from day one and staying on top.

“I am an E-5 with knowledge, skills, and experience that most E-6s and some E-7s lack,” said Barnes. “I will continue to stay on top my entire career.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Barnes, 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.

“Serving in the Navy gives me doors and paths to follow throughout my life,” added Barnes. “Always having the help I need and resources to keep my family happy is what I work for while also shaping me to be a better leader and person altogether.”

Barnes has completed two deployments in a three-year timeline while onboard Monterey. He participated in Tomahawk strikes during the 2018 deployment and the seizing of terrorist weapons and ammo during the 2021 deployment.

Additionally, Barnes received his enlisted surface warfare specialist qualification and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for the overhaul of gas turbines.