Matthew Wallen

BATH, Maine — A 2012 Defiance High School graduate and Defiance native is serving as part of the Pre-Commissioning Unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Wallen is an electronics technician assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine.

As an electronics technician, Wallen is responsible for maintaining computer aided navigation systems.

“I love meeting new people in different places,” said Wallen.

DDG 116 is currently undergoing tests and trials in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Navy from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Arleigh Burke class destroyers measure approximately 500 feet long and are powered by four gas turbines that allow the ship to achieve over 30 mph in open seas.

Wallen has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

“I learned from my family how to work well with others despite having different views,” said Wallen.

With a crew of more than 300 sailors, each crew member’s job is important to the smooth operation of the ship. The jobs range from weapon handling to navigation.

Wallen has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My father was an electrician's mate onboard the supercarrier, USS Kitty Hawk,” said Wallen.

Wallen’s proudest accomplishment was participating in Operation Formidable Shield.

“I had the great opportunity in meeting other members of various naval fleets from other countries,” added Wallen.

Close living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships, Wallen and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I love supporting and defending freedom for those who are not able to,” said Wallen.

The construction of the ship is over 98% complete. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in late 2018 in Boston, Mass. For more information about the commissioning, visit

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