Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Nieder, native of Sanford, Maine, is serving aboard one of the nation’s newest, most versatile warships, USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee.

The warship is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer commissioned by the U.S. Navy on May 13, in Key West, Fla. Ship commissioning is a naval tradition that places a ship in active service.

Nieder joined the Navy 13 years ago.

“I joined the Navy to explore the world and gain experience to go back to the civilian sector,” said Nieder. “I also wanted to be more successful in life and be more knowledgeable.”

Today, Nieder serves as an electrician's mate aboard Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee. “I work to maintain an electrical plant on board the ship, which has to do with circuitry like breakers, fuses, lights and outlets,” said Nieder.

According to Navy officials, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet. The highly capable, multi-mission ships conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence to national security providing a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface.

Nieder is proud to be a Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee sailor. “We get along and work together really well,” said Nieder. “We are able to support one another and ensure the team gets the job done. Being a part of the engineering division is really awesome, fun and hard working.”

The Surface Force is focused on providing lethal, ready, well-trained, and logistically supported surface forces to fight today and in the future. The men and women serving aboard USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee are some of our nation’s best and brightest and are typical of the talented sailors on duty in our Navy around the world today. They are prepared to go into harm’s way, properly trained, and ready to carry out orders in defense of our nation’s freedom.

“This crew displayed a phenomenal amount of teamwork, dedication, and excitement in getting our ship ready,” said Cmdr. Douglas Brayton, the Higbee’s commanding officer. “I am so proud of the crew’s efforts, proficiency, and accomplishments as we join the fleet.”

With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the U.S. is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

"Our mission remains timeless — to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level," said Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of Naval Operations. "This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy."

“What I like most about being on board Higbee is being able to learn shipboard life,” said Nieder. “I learn the ins-and-outs, the daily routine and the operations on a new ship. This is also my first command being assigned on a ship as a petty officer first class. This is very humbling and rewarding.”

USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee honors Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, Higbee was the first woman to receive the Navy Cross while still living. Higbee joined the Navy in October 1908 as part of “The Sacred Twenty,” the first group of women forming the Navy Nurse Corps. She became the second superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in January 1911, holding the position for 11 years. Higbee served in the Navy for 14 years, leading the Nurse Corps through World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic.