PARSIPPANY — A 2017 Parsippany High School graduate and Parsippany native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason.
Navy Seaman Kyle Braen is a culinary specialist aboard the warship, based in Norfolk, Virginia. USS Mason is named after Secretary of the Navy John Young Mason and Distinguished Flying Cross Recipient Ensign Newton Henry Mason.
A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for cooking quality meals to boost the sailors’ morale.
“I enjoy acquiring new cooking skills that will help me achieve my goal as becoming a certified chef in the civilian world,” Braen said.
Braen credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Parsippany.
“I learned a great work ethic, to be a good communicator, and how to be a team player,” Braen said.
U.S. Navy sailors, like Braen, are stationed both stateside and on the high seas aboard surface ships around the world. USS Mason is one of more than 60 ships on the east coast of the United States as part of Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
U.S. Navy ships are deployed globally, and their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is vital to project power, secure common areas, deter aggression and assure allies when and where desired.
Due to its extensive combat capability, the Mason is able to fire Tomahawk Cruise Missiles and other weapons as part of sustained combat operations against targets on and below the sea, in addition to hitting targets hundreds of miles over the land.
The ship is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which integrates the ship’s electronic sensors and weapons systems to defend against anti-ship missile threats. The ship’s air search and fire control radar provides continuous search and tracking of hundreds targets simultaneously.
The crew of more than 300 sailors build a strong fellowship while working alongside each other. The sailors are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions as part of a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“I like meeting new people that have the same interests and skills that I do,” Braen said. “The little things like this helps sailors here onboard have good camaraderie.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Braen is most proud of getting his sharpshooter ribbon from shooting weapons on the ship.
“I set a personal goal to achieve this level which will now help me work on my expert marksmanship badge,” Braen said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Braen 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.
“Serving in the Navy means to be honorable and have the power to defend the country and help others,” Braen added