Maui Sailor Providing Critical Missile Defense in Romania

July 20, 2017, 9:53 AM HST · Updated July 20, 9:53 AM
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A Seabury Hall High School graduate from Maui is part of a new and unique Navy command providing critical missile defense to a large part of Europe.

Cmdr. Charles (Charlie) Bisgard

Cmdr. Charles “Charlie” Bisgard is the executive officer serving at Naval Support Facility Deveselu, one of the Navy’s newest commands defending against the threat of ballistic missiles.

A Navy executive officer is responsible for day to day operations of the base.

“The best part about the job is meeting all the young sailors and exploring the country of Romania,” said Bisgard told the Navy Office of Community Outreach.

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NSF Deveselu is the first Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Facility placed into operations, providing support to NATO’s overall ballistic missile defense system. Commissioned in October 2014, the installation is home to US Navy Sailors who work with their Romanian partners to defend against the threat of a ballistic missile attack.

“The importance of our Sailors’ mission in Romania can’t be overstated,” said Capt. Jon Grant, commander NSF Deveselu. “Because we are here, our combatant commanders have a lot of flexibility to position their sea-based missile defense assets where they’ll have the largest strategic impact, and that wouldn’t be possible without our Sailors stepping up to the plate and knocking it out of the park 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Assigned to US 6th Fleet, sailors are on watch throughout the European region and are important assets supporting the European Phased Adaptive Approach to enhance the security of that area of the world from ballistic missile, according to Navy officials.

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Navy personnel at NSF Deveselu are supported in their efforts by forward deployed units in Rota Spain, such as the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75).

Having four destroyers based in Rota gives the US 6th Fleet flexibility to send these ships to a variety of locations for a range of missions, while at the same time providing a large umbrella of protection for European allies.

Approximately 200 officers and enlisted men and women are stationed in Deveselu. Their highly-specialized jobs are critical to mission success, according to Navy officials.

“Serving aboard the ship is being a part of a small tight knit command,” said Bisgard. “There is a lot of camaraderie here.”

Living abroad is challenging, Navy officials explained. The young men and women are highly motivated, and quickly adapt. The sacrifices are worthwhile to ensure the safety of our allies and loved ones back home.

Supporting this important mission, Bisgard explained that he and fellow service members know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“Being in the Navy is being part of a bigger mission,” said Bisgard. “It’s being part of the naval fraternity. There is a sense of pride in both serving your country and in the Navy.”

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