A 2006 North Platte High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard one of two U.S. guided missile submarines -- the USS Florida.Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel McGill, a navigation electronics technician, is aboard the boat, which is based in Kings Bay, Ga.
As a navigation electronics technician, McGill is responsible for the safe navigation of the boat and the maintenance of all in-hull communications.
“I like how my job has pushed me to improve my problem solving and critical thinking skills,” McGill said.
The Navy’s Ohio-class guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform.
Armed with tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, SSGNs are capable of directly supporting Combatant Commander's strike and Special Operation Forces (SOF) requirements.
The Ohio-class design allows the submarines to operate for 15 or more years between major overhauls.
According to Navy officials, submarine sailors are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain and repair every system or piece of equipment on board.
Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.
"We demand the highest standards from our sailors - both professionally and personally," said Rear Adm. Randy Crites, the commander of Submarine Group 10 in Kings Bay. “Their chain of command, family and our great nation take immense pride in their devotion and service. These sailors are absolutely crucial to ensuring our ships and submarines are operating at their best -- always mission ready, providing our nation with the greatest Navy the world has ever known. I'm so very proud these sailors are on our team."
“The best part about serving on a submarine is how extremely different it is from anything you can ever experience in the civilian sector,” McGill said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, McGill and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“The Navy has provided me with humility through sacrifice and allowed a certain degree for empathy to grow for home and for the international community,” McGill said.