Weatherford News

Weatherford grad serves on guided-missile destroyer

Petty Officer 3rd Class Zacharry Ritch
Petty Officer 3rd Class Zacharry Ritch Photo courtesy USN

A 2006 Weatherford High School graduate and Lipan, native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Sterett.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Zacharry Ritch is a sonar technician aboard the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego.

A sonar technician surface in the Navy is responsible for operating sonar systems, underwater fire control systems, and supporting equipment on surface ships such as frigates, destroyers and cruisers.

“What I love most about my job is the technical aspect,” said Ritch.

Commissioned in August of 2008, Sterett measures approximately 500 feet and is powered by four gas turbines that allow the destroyer to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Sterett is the fourth ship to be named after Lt. Andrew Sterett, a U.S. naval officer who fought in the Quasi and Barbary wars.

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 warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute any tasking overseas.

With a crew of more than 300 sailors, jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the destroyer running smoothly, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.

“The thing I like most about this command is that it gives me the same aspect of being in a sheriff's office,” said Ritch.

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

“What I love most about being in the Navy is the free travel around the world,” said Ritch.