SAN DIEGO - A 2001 Shaker Heights High School graduate and native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, is serving aboard the future USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), the newest littoral combat ship homeported in San Diego, California.
Chief Petty Officer Kara Rush is a gunner’s mate responsible for operating and maintaining guided missile launching systems, rocket launchers, gun mounts, and other ordnance systems and equipment.
“The thing I enjoy most about my job is troubleshooting systems,” said Rush. "I also like being able to work with the ship’s missile launching system."
Cincinnati, an Independence variant littoral combat ship, is designed from the keel up to affordably take on new capabilities – from the most advanced sensors, to the latest missiles, to cutting-edge cyber systems. Its speed, strength and versatility make it a critical tool to help our Sailors achieve the mission.
Littoral combat ships are a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking, and win against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft.
Rush has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.
“Growing up in Shaker Heights, my parents taught me the true meaning of hard work,” she said. "I was out delivering my first Plain Dealer at the age of 10."
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Cincinnati. Increased automation equals a smaller crew. In the case of LCS 20, that is a core of 70 men and women who keep all parts of the ship running smoothly. Minimally manned crews place high demands on sailors. Each crew member performs a number of tasks outside of their traditional job or rating.
“Kara Rush represents a host of talented Sailors in LCS,” said Cincinnati’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Kurt Braeckel. “They each received specialized training to enhance their skills across their ratings, allowing them to excel in multiple roles normally filled by more than one person on legacy ships. Chief Rush represent the best of not just our Chief’s Mess, but the best of our Navy!”
Rush has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
"My dad, David Howard Rush, Sr. is an Army vet,” said Rush. “I never thought I was going to last long in the military. My goal was to serve four years and receive money for college however, I fell in the love with the Navy and am proud of my 16 years of service.”
Smith’s proudest accomplishment was becoming a Survival, Evasion, Resist and Escape (SERE) instructor.
“SERE training is pretty tough,” Rush said. "It is important and special to train our nation’s best for the worst.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s high-tech littoral combat ships, Rush and other Cincinnati sailors are proud to be part of a warfighting team.
"Serving in the Navy has given me a sense of pride,” said Rush. “It reminds me of something my mother always said to me, ‘Happiness keeps you sweet and trials keep you strong.’”
Cincinnati is the eighteenth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the tenth of the Independence variant. It is the fifth ship in naval service named after Cincinnati, Ohio – a state with a proud history of producing the defenders of our nation.
The warship will be officially placed into active service at an October 5 commissioning ceremony in Gulfport, Mississippi. The ceremony includes “bringing the ship to life” and other orders rooted in centuries old naval tradition.
Photo courtesy of the United States Navy