Picture Rocks man serves on Navy ship

Petty Officer Robert Hess, of Picture Rocks, has been an electrician’s mate in the Navy for three years. He is serving on his first deployment on USS Bataan and recently was named maintenance person of the week for Naval Forces Atlantic, which includes more than 70 ships and 25,000 sailors.

“Like most people, I joined the Navy so I could learn a trade, all along with seeing the world, always facing new and difficult challenges,” Hess said. “My job is a constant puzzle of troubleshooting and trying to repair what is broken. It is very rewarding when we repair a piece of broken equipment so the ship can stay underway and keep up the comfort of living.

“My job also spans the entire ship. I could go from fixing something up on the bridge one day to working in the machinery rooms the next day. We have interactions with everyone on the ship,” he added. “There is always more to learn and something new to do from keeping generators working in top condition to just keeping power on in people’s outlets.”

Since deployed, Bataan has conducted two rescues at sea. On March 8, Bataan rescued two Turkish mariners from their sinking cargo ship in the Aegean Sea.

On June 6, Bataan rescued 282 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea after their small vessel sank. The crew brought them onboard the ship, providing medical attention to the many needing it as well as food, water and temporary shelter.

Bataan transferred 277 of the migrants to an Armed Forces of Malta offshore patrol vessel and another five persons were medical evacuated to Malta on June 7.

Bataan is deployed in the Navy’s 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility. It departed from Naval Station Norfolk for an eight-month deployment on Feb. 8.

The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet AOR.