A 2008 Palmetto Senior High School graduate and Pinecrest native is serving in the U.S. Navy supporting nuclear-powered, fast-attack, submarines homeported in and visiting the Groton, CT area.
Seaman Christopher Owens, a Navy information systems technician, is responsible for maintaining the network on the submarine and helps Sailors fix any IT problems they have.
“I’ve enjoyed being in an environment that forces you to learn,” Owens said. “Here you have to be at the right place at the right time or you don’t make the cut.
“In the Miami area, I grew up in a diverse environment, so being in the Navy was very similar being around people from all different cultures,” Owens said. “Being around an eclectic group of people has been very enjoyable.”
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast, and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
Naval Submarine Support Center, New London (NSSCNLON) provides administrative and support functions to approximately 20 submarines. The command provides support in the fields of administration, medical, legal, chaplain, supply, combat systems, engineering, communications, and operations to improve readiness of submarines in the Groton area.
Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.
“The U.S. Navy submarine force has one of the highest operational tempos in the U.S. Navy and Naval Submarine Support Center, New London plays a vital role in helping Groton-based submarines maintain their excellent readiness,” said CDR. Brian J. Nowak, Commanding Officer, Naval Submarine Support Center, New London. “The warfighters operating the submarines at the tip of the spear, and those who are building the Navy’s newest nuclear powered submarines can only do so because of the vast network of support they receive from the shore side. The professional Sailors and civilians at Naval Submarine Support Center, New London serve a key role in that network. I am honored that I get to serve every day with outstanding Sailors like Owens.”
According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation.
The submarine community is an all-volunteer force, which has some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. Becoming a submariner is an accomplishment in itself.
“It’s been interesting to learn about working on such a rare machine [the submarine],” Owens said. “Being from South Florida, I’ve always been around the water, so I’ve always been interested in the ocean.”
Supporting the high operational tempo and unique challenges of the submarine force build strong fellowship and a strong sense of mission, according to Navy officials.
“Serving in the Navy gives me a chance to travel while learning a trade that will set me up for a future in information technology,” added Owens.