A 2012 Toms River High School North graduate and Toms River native is serving in the U.S. Navy, living on the coast of Spain, and participating in a critical NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) mission while assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Leather is a damage controlman aboard one of the four advanced warships forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, a small village on the country’s southwest coast 65 miles south of the city of Seville.
A Navy damage controlman is responsible for planning, supervising and performing the tasks necessary for damage control, ship stability, preservation of watertight integrity and firefighting.
Leather credits success in the Navy with lessons learned growing up in Toms River.
“I have learned that hard work pays off, no matter your job or position,” he said.
These four destroyers are forward-deployed in Rota to fulfill the United States’ phased commitment to NATO BMD while also carrying out a wide range of missions to support the security of Europe.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Leather, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Leather is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My grandfather served in Korea in the Army,” he said. “We became closer after I joined the Navy.”
While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Leather has found many great rewards.
Leather is proud of earning a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his job performance and a positive attitude.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Leather and other Carney sailors know they are a part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“My time in the Navy has taught me patience and how to work with all different types of people,” he said. “Being forward-deployed to Spain has been amazing. I enjoy meeting people from all over Europe and seeing different things for the first time.”