U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Finley Petty Officer 2nd Class Caleb Middleton

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Finley

Petty Officer 2nd Class Caleb Middleton


A 2016 Grayson County High School graduate and Leitchfield native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Chung-Hoon.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Caleb Middleton works as a Navy cryptologic technician (technical) aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Middleton credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Leitchfield.

“My hometown taught me the value of hard work and perseverance," said Middleton. "No matter the challenge, working hard always pays off.”

Chung-Hoon measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve more than 30 mph in open seas.

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, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines and handling weaponry to washing dishes and preparing meals.

As a Navy cryptologic technician (technical), Middleton is responsible for operating and maintaining electronic sensors and computer systems in support of surface, subsurface, air, and special warfare operations.

According to Navy officials, destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required war-fighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.

Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Middleton 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.”

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Middleton, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Middleton is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“My grandfather served in the Air Force, and my cousin is serving in the Navy,” said Middleton. “Knowing that others in my family served inspired me to stand and take the oath as well.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Middleton is most proud of advancing to petty officer second class and being meritoriously promoted.

“I quickly earned my Enlisted Surface Warfare Qualification and my Enlisted Aviation Warfare Qualification," said Middleton. "Obtaining these took hard work and a lot of studying.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Middleton 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.

“I love being in the Navy and serving my country,” said Middleton. “Traveling the world and experiencing other cultures is a big benefit, but standing up for what I believe in and the country that I love means everything to me.”