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Dothan native serves aboard USS John S. McCain while conducting operations in the Philippine Sea
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Dothan native serves aboard USS John S. McCain while conducting operations in the Philippine Sea

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PHILIPPINE SEA – A Dothan native and 2019 Northside Methodist Academy graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

Airman Brandyn Taylor is an Aerographer’s Mate, or AG, assigned to Naval Oceanography Antisubmarine Warfare Center (NOAC), Yokosuka who is currently underway aboard John S. McCain, forward-deployed to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.

AGs are the Navy’s meteorological and oceanographic experts, trained in the science of meteorology and physical oceanography. They also learn to use instruments that monitor weather characteristics such as air pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction. They then distribute this data to aircraft, ships and shore activities.

Taylor is currently serving as part of an embarked team aboard John S. McCain providing up to the minute oceanographic and meteorological advice directly to the ship’s leadership and combat watch standers in addition to relaying information back to shore.

“We can be a liaison between the big weather hubs and the ship to make sure everything is correct,” said Taylor. “We can verify that the forecast is actually up to date and correct for what we are seeing so we can reach back to them and tell them what they need to change.”

Taylor’s experience as an Aerographer’s Mate has given him a chance to gain an understanding of a scientific field that affects everyone, but is not always understood.

“It has been a learning experience,” said Taylor. “I came into the Navy not knowing a lot about weather, but now I’d like to think that I know significantly more and I have really enjoyed just getting the chance to further my knowledge in the subject.”

John S. McCain has contributed to various critical missions promoting regional peace and prosperity, including integrated operations last fall with the French Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) focusing on anti-submarine warfare tactics between the three navies. In November John S. McCain joined ships from the Royal Australian Navy and JMSDF for the first phase of exercise Malabar 2021, and transited to the Andaman Sea through the Strait of Malacca with the Royal Australian Navy.

John S. McCain also operated as part of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, and operated in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Indian Ocean and Philippine Sea.

Most recently, John S. McCain participated in the annual U.S.-Japan Bilateral Advanced Warfighting Training exercise (BAWT) which focuses on combined training and interoperability of coalition forces, and enables real-world proficiency and readiness in response to any contingency.

“7th Fleet really is the tip of the spear in the grand scheme of things,” said Taylor. “We are underway a lot and everything is fast paced so I feel like what I do really has a big impact and every little thing counts.”

John S. McCain is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet employs 50 to 70 ships and submarines across the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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