PEARL HARBOR – Fort Worth native and 2015 Northwest High School graduate Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew B. Smith is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines, the USS Greeneville.
Smith works as a machinist’s mate (nuclear) serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 56 fast-attack submarines in the U.S. Navy.
A Navy machinist’s mate (nuclear) is responsible for maintaining water chemistry, monitoring radiation exposure, and servicing associated mechanical equipment.
“Growing up my whole life, my family taught me that family came first,” said Smith. “I carry that on to my career by putting my shipmates first, because they are my family now.”
Approximately 130 men and women make up the submarine’s crew, doing everything from handling weapons to maintaining nuclear reactors.
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.
“Our submarine teams are small, elite, and rely heavily on extraordinary individual performance,” said Rear Adm. Daryl L. Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “It is no surprise that our sailors continue to set the standard for excellence, and the country continues to be well served by their service and sacrifice. I couldn’t be more proud to lead this professional fighting force.”
According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation.
“I am the first in my family to serve in the military,” said Smith. “It is a different lifestyle. It is nice to expand my horizons and get culturally influenced outside of Texas.”
Challenging submarine living conditions build strong fellowship among the elite crew, Navy officials say.
“Serving means being 100 percent committed and dedicated to serving my country,” Smith said.
– Kayla Turnbow, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne