SOUTH CHINA SEA – Gas turbine systems technicians in the U.S. Navy maintain the
engines, lube oils and fuel that keeps the Navy moving.
Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical)(GSM) 3rd Class Mackenzie Mattox is
an engineer aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville
(CG 62). Her shipmates know to find her in a bright purple jersey with “Oil Queen”
stenciled in black letters, often refueling helicopters and testing the ship’s lube oil.
Before the Navy, Maddox grew up in Middletown, Ohio, where she graduated from
Middletown High School in 2016. Mattox, whose sister is in the Marines, said she joined
for the opportunity to see different parts of the world.
“There were so many paths I could have taken, but I’m grateful for the one I chose,”
Mattox said. “When I went to [Military Entrance Processing Station], my career
counselor named [GSM] first, actually, out of all the others I was eligible for. After she
explained what it involved, it sounded like something I would like.”
Mattox said that since she is from a small town in Ohio, the Navy has helped her grow
“I don’t think I ever would have gone out of the country if it wasn’t for the Navy,”
Mattox said. “I wouldn’t have seen or experienced anything I have already seen if I didn’t
Mattox arrived aboard Chancellorsville in November 2016 as the ship was moving into a
dry dock period. She said she liked being able to see the propellers and what the bottom
of the ship looked like.
Mattox said her job is different every day. Because it pertains to anything to do with fuel,
and she is the only female GSM aboard Chancellorsville, she was given the nickname
“We have a watch station called the ‘Oil King,’ where we test fuel,” Mattox said. “It’s
written in the instruction as ‘Oil King’ but everyone jokes around that I’m the “Oil
GSMs test all the fuel aboard their ships. They have a chemistry lab where they test fuel
to make sure there are no discrepancies in the fuel. They maintain logs that include how
much fuel is onboard, the ship’s liquid load and the ship’s fuel weight and balance to
know where the fuel is on the ship and where it is going.
Ensign Julianne Dahlman, the repair officer onboard Chancellorsville, said she had the
pleasure of being Mattox’s supervisor when she was temporarily assigned to her work
center, engineering repair 09, for six months.
“As one of five female Sailors in the engineering department, and one of my former
damage control petty officers, GSM3 Mattox has impressed me since day one,” Dahlman
said. “She is a hard worker and the fastest rising ‘Oil Queen’ since the homeport shift
from San Diego to Yokosuka. I am looking forward to her clear and bright future in the
Mattox said she enjoys being the “Oil Queen” and having the opportunity to have a direct
influence on successful naval operations.
“I’m proud of my rate because the ship can’t move without me; the helicopters can’t fly
without me,” Mattox said. “It feels good knowing that what you’re doing is making a
Chancellorsville is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of
security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.