2017-07-12 / Front Page

Queens Native Serves Nation Abroad In Spain


U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nyja Allen.U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nyja Allen.A Jamaica High School graduate and Queens native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Donald Cook.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Nyja Allen is a culinary specialist aboard the forward-deployed, Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Rota, Spain. Donald Cook is one of four destroyers homeported in Rota.

A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for providing nutritious meals to the crew.

“I like the way people feel about the food I prepare,” said Allen.

Commissioned in 1998, the Donald Cook is 509 feet long; the length of more than three football fields. The ship is named after Donald Cook, a Vietnam War prisoner of war who died in captivity.

Donald Cook is a tactical multi-mission surface combatant, capable of conducting anti-air submarine surface warfare in conjunction with being outfitted with aegis ballistic missile defense capabilities. BMD enables the ship to conduct long-range surveillance, tracking, and engagement of short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Donald Cook is Sixth Fleet’s premier forward deployed unit with an extremely high operational tempo,” said Cmdr. Timothy Moore, Commanding Officer aboard USS Donald Cook. “My sailors continue to impress me with how hard they work, the pride they possess and the dedication they show day in and day out in the execution of their duties. Being able to command a ship with such a great group of professional sailors is an enduring honor and a privilege.”

Approximately 30 officers and 300 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry, and everything in between.

“I like serving at this command because I love the people I work with,” said Allen.

Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a ship, the challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapts to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Allen and other Donald Cook sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

 “I feel honored to serve,” said Allen. “My grandfather also served, so I am carrying on his legacy and making a new one for myself.”

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