North Lincoln High School graduate Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Fischer assigned to USS Florida in the Navy’s “Silent Service.”
Fischer is stationed at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, homeport of all East Coast Ohio-class ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarines. He works as a machinist’s mate (weapons).
“I’m in charge of all small arms, ordinance, torpedoes, countermeasures and related systems,” Fischer said.
According to a Navy press release, submariners are some of the most highly-trained and skilled people in the Navy. Personnel are subject to rigorous testing before acceptance due to the demanding environment. In order to earn the right to wear the gold or silver dolphin, everyone regardless of their specialty, has to learn how everything on the ship works.
Fischer credits continued success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Denver.
“Growing up in my hometown, I learned hard work and dedication and that has led me to be where I am in the Navy today,” Fischer said.
Typically the crew on the USS Florida consists of approximately 150 officers and enlisted sailors. Fischer part of the USS Florida’s Blue crew. It’s one of the two rotating crews, allowing the boat to be deployed on missions more often without taxing one crew too much.
The submarine was invented by David Bushnell in 1775 and nicknamed the Turtle. George Washington called it “an effort of genius” despite that the one-man wooden craft wasn’t successful in attempts to destroy British vessels during the American Revolution.
Today, submarines are armed with tactical missiles, and state-of-the-art communication capabilities. The Navy's four guided-missile submarines, each displace 18,750 tons submerged. Each are capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes. The USS Florida is 560 feet long, 42 feet wide and weighs more than 16,500 tons. Its nuclear-powered propulsion system can move the ship along at more than 20 knots or 23 mph.
There are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, communities, and careers. Fischer is most proud of taking the boat through the process of going from dry dock, getting everything back together, doing sea qualifications and eventually getting it ready for a full deployment.
“Serving in the Navy shows me I can do anything in life,” Fischer said.