Panama City native serves aboard U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer in Pearl Harbor

Seaman Jeffrey Raplee grew up in Panama City. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Finley)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HI (American Connections Media Outreach) - A Rutherford High School graduate is now protecting our country aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Halsey.

Seaman Jeffrey Raplee graduated from Rutherford in 2017. The Navy says he now works as a HAZMAT team member on the guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Raplee says he's successful in the Navy because of lessons he learned in Panama City.

“My hometown of Panama City taught me that family means everything,” Raplee said. “They are the reason I am successful.”

About 30 officers and 300 enlisted men and women make up the ship's company, according to Navy officials. As a seaman and HAZMAT team member, Raplee is responsible for responding to toxic gas, fire, and flooding emergencies on the ship.

Raplee isn't the first person in his family to serve in the military. He says he comes from a family that has served.

“My father was in the Navy, my brother was in the Marine Corps, and various other family members have served in the military, but my father and brother were my biggest influences in enlisting,” Raplee said.