A 2013 Delaware Military Academy graduate and Middletown native is serving the country in the Navy, living on the coast of Spain and participating in a NATO ballistic missile defense mission while assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook.

Ensign Garrett McCarthy is a division officer aboard one of the four advanced warships forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, a village on the country’s southwest coast 65 miles south Seville, Spain.

A Navy division officer is responsible for the upkeep of the ship's sonar equipment and professional development of sonar technicians. McCarthy credits success in the Navy with lessons learned growing up in Middletown.

The ship is named after Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam prisoner of war, U.S. Marine Corps Col. Donald G. Cook.

“Donald Cook’s crew is second to none in competency, resiliency and enthusiasm,” said Cmdr. Matthew J. Powel, commanding officer of USS Donald Cook. “This team comes in to work every day ready to accomplish the mission in one of the most demanding sea duty schedules the Navy has to offer and I couldn’t be more proud to be their captain.”

While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, McCarthy has found rewards. McCarthy is operating off of a national tasking and qualify for positions aiding in ship navigation and combat efficiency.

The work and professionalism of more than 300 women and men aboard Donald Cook are a testament to the namesake's dedication and the ship's motto, "Faith Without Fear."

“Because of our wide range of responsibilities, the Navy has taught me to prioritize, organize and mitigate risks in every aspect of our mission,” said McCarthy. “It's amazing to have the opportunity to serve in Spain because of the culture and travel. This is my first experience in Europe and it really cued me into different ways of life and historical significance of the Rota area.”