Lytle native and mine hunter serves with the U.S. Navy half a world away

Petty Officer 1st Class and LHS graduate Mark Goodrich serves in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Pioneer.

SASEBO, Japan – A Lytle, Texas native and 2007 Lytle High School graduate is serving in Japan in the U.S. Navy aboard one of the forward-deployed mine countermeasures ship, USS Pioneer.
Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Goodrich is a damage controlman aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship, operating out of Sasebo, Japan. The ship routinely deploys to protect alliances, enhance partnerships, and be ready to respond if a natural disaster occurs in the region.
A Navy damage controlman acts as the ship’s fire marshall and fire fighting leaders, and they train the ship’s company in chemical, biological and radiological defense.
Goodrich is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of Lytle.
“Teamwork is important when playing sports in my hometown and in the damage control man rating,” said Goodrich. “If you don’t have teamwork you don’t succeed.”
Goodrich’s accomplishments include two Navy Achievement Medals, so far.
Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world ready at all times to defend America’s interests. With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Sasebo is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
With a crew of more than 80, Pioneer is 224 feet long and weighs approximately 1,300 tons. Pioneer is one of the Navy’s 11 Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships that are designed to neutralize mines from vital waterways and harbors. There are four minesweepers in Sasebo as part of the forward-deployed mine countermeasures force that are on-call to respond in the event of a mine-clearing operation in the Indo-Pacific.
MCMs in Sasebo routinely operate with allies and partners to build mine countermeasures proficiency and sustain our alliances.
“I like being forward deployed because I like going underway and seeing different countries and achieving the mission’s goals,” said Goodrich. “The Navy has made me more of a responsible adult and now I am smart with my money.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Goodrich and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy allows me to serve my country. I come from a long line of military tradition,” said Goodrich.
Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet’s area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors in the 7th Fleet.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana,
Navy Office of Community Outreach