DVIDS – News – Villa Rica, Georgia Native Serves aboard USS Shoup (DDG 86) While Conducting Operations in the South China Sea
Story by Operations Specialist 2nd Class Riley Black
Friday, October 19, 2023
Petty Officer 2nd Class Blake Bundrum, a Villa Rica, Georgia native and graduate of Villa Rica High School, is serving aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) while conducting operations in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Bundrum, also known as “Bun Bun” by Sailors aboard Shoup, joined the Navy in April 2019 and has been serving aboard Shoup since February 18, 2021. His decision to join the military was influenced by family members who had served in the past.
“I was inspired by my grandfathers to serve my country because they both served,” said Bundrum. “On my dad’s side, my grandfather was drafted to the Army during the Vietnam War. On my mother’s side, my grandfather was enlisted in the Marines during the Vietnam War.”
While Bundrum could have followed directly in the footsteps of one of his grandfathers, joining the Army or Marines, he felt the Navy would allow him a better opportunity to visit overseas destinations.
“I chose the Navy because of my desire to travel the world,” said Bundrum. “I went on a study abroad trip to Italy before joining, and it broadened my horizons to experiencing new cultures, trying different types of food and learning a new language.”
Bundrum serves as a Fire Controlman (Aegis) (FCA) aboard Shoup, which is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. When joining the Navy, he selected the Advanced Electronics Computer Field (AECF) program which led to him becoming a Fire Controlman (FC). In A-school, he was assigned a Naval Enlisted Classification (NEC), receiving training that qualified him to work on the AEGIS weapons system which specializes in naval air and ballistic missile defense.
“Getting FCA was the best thing I could have hoped for because I got to launch a test missile,” said Bundrum. “My favorite part about launching missile was the silence and intensity leading up to the launch, watching it leave the ship, then the cheering and clapping while watching it fly.”
An avid go-getter and a well-versed Sailor, Bundrum has found other ways to contribute to the ship and his shipmates. As a Petty Officer 3rd Class, he helped establish Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) aboard Shoup, an organization focused on Sailors helping other Sailors maintain a course of success through good decision making.
“I decided to help establish CSADD on board, because one of the closest people to me on the ship, CTT2 Brown, was talking about the program,” said Bundrum. “We decided instead of talking about it we should try to get it started. Since then it has become a way for E-4 and below sailors to get more involved with the command.”
Additionally, he is part of the Combat Systems Training Teams (CSTT) which helps maintain the ship’s warfighting readiness by running various scenarios in the Combat Information Center (CIC).
“I joined CSTT because yes it is in my ladder of qualifications as a sailor, but it is not required for me yet,” said Bundrum. “I joined so soon because it is fun to do the scenarios and if I have all this knowledge, I might as well use it to train the new comers and pass it down.”
Bundrum plans on staying in the Navy and putting in a Limited Duty Officer (LDO) package which would allow him to become a commissioned officer. He is scheduled to leave Shoup in March 2026, and while he is looking forward to his next duty station, he says he appreciates his time aboard Shoup and everything he’s learning.
Shoup is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70, and is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
|Date Posted:||10.20.2023 00:22|
|Location:||SOUTH CHINA SEA|
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