By Chief Mass Communication Specialist ERICA R. GARDNER
Navy Office of Community Outreach
Chaplain Lt. Nicholas Suddath credits his success in the U.S. Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in west central Georgia.
“I was taught to never give up and that circumstances do not define you," said Suddath. "Anyone can change.”
Suddath is serving aboard the guided-missile cruiser, USS Port Royal. He has been in the Navy for eight years and is a U.S. Navy chaplain aboard the guided-missile cruiser operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
As a Navy chaplain, Suddath is responsible for providing, facilitating, caring and advising all religious needs. Chaplains care for the people of the unit, ensuring they are equipped to fight.
Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. According to Navy officials, their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Suddath is most proud of earning a black belt and a tan tab in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
“I would like to see another chaplain with one,” said Suddath.
A Navy cruiser is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea, Navy officials explained. The ship is equipped with a vertical launching system, tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons systems.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Suddath is serving in a part of the world taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world's population, many of the world's largest and smallest economies, several of the world's largest militaries and many U.S. allies.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Suddath, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Suddath is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“Both of my grandfathers were in the Navy but have since passed away,” said Suddath, a Hogansville native and 2005 graduate of Callaway High School in LaGrange. “I am happy to have joined the Navy and carry on the tradition.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Suddath and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means freedom," Suddath said. "Everything we have is from sacrifice.”
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt
Lt. Nicholas Suddath is a military chaplain, helping to meet the spiritual needs of 300 people aboard the USS Port Royal, a guided-missile cruiser.