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MCHS Graduates Serves On USS Somerset- Petty Officer 11st Class William M. Hickman

SAN DIEGO – A 2000 Marshall County High School graduate and Lewisburg, Tenn., native is serving aboard USS Somerset (LPD 25), one of the world’s most modern, networked, survivable, and transformational platforms. 

Petty Officer 1st Class William M. Hickman is a fire controlman aboard the San Diego-based ship, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, that is longer than 2 football fields long at nearly 684 feet long. The ship is 105 feet wide and weighs more than 25,000 tons. Four diesel engines can push the ship through the water at more than 24 mph. Like her sister ships, USS New York and Arlington, USS Somerset is named in commemoration of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The name honors the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 whose actions prevented terrorist hijackers from reaching their intended target, forcing the airplane to crash near Shanksville, Somerset County, Pa. Approximately 22 tons of steel from a crane that stood near Flight 93′s crash site was used to construct Somerset’s bow stem, embodying the strength and determination of the people of the United States: to recover, to rally, to take the fight to the enemy. 

As a 32 year-old with numerous responsibilities, Hickman said he is learning about himself as a leader, Sailor and a person. He added that his time in the Navy has been exciting and full of benefits. “The Navy gives you the opportunity to take on responsibilities regardless of your age,” said Hickman. “The Navy pushes you to succeed and do things you had no idea you were capable of.” 

He also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the Somerset’s 361-member crew, protecting America on the world’s oceans. “Serving on this ship is a great honor,” Hickman explained. “The people on flight 93 stood up and fought back and that is what we embody, standing up for what you believe to be right regardless of the cost.” 

“For an officer in the United States Navy to be entrusted with the awesome responsibility of command is humbling. It is truly an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve as USS Somerset’s first commanding officer. Every day, I feel an unparalleled sense of pride working alongside the nation’s finest Sailors and Marines.” 

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile combat ships, Hickman and other USS Somerset sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes. 

“It’s been a great experience,” said Hickman. “The Navy has given me the opportunity to visit 15 countries and serve with great people from all walks of life.”