Conway native serves at Submarine Squadron 20

by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Sylvia Black

Conway native Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Fugett is serving in the U.S. Navy and is a submarine communications officer aboard the Kings Bay-based Submarine Support Command. He is a 1983 Conway High School graduate.

A Navy submarine communications officer is responsible for powering and operating eight ballistic and guided missile submarines at Kings Bay naval base.

“I like protecting and serving my country,” said Fugett. “It has been a rewarding experience."

Measuring 560 feet long, 42 feet wide and weighing more than 16,500 tons, a nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the ship through the water at more than 20 knots.

The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as “boomers,” serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental ballistic missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles if directed by the President. The Ohio-class design allows the submarines to operate for 15 or more years between major overhauls. On average, the submarines spend 77 days at sea followed by 35 days in-port for maintenance.

"We demand the highest standards from our Sailors – both professionally and personally," said Rear Adm. Randy Crites, Commander, Submarine Group Ten in Kings Bay, Ga. "Lt. Cmdr. Fugett’s chain of command, family and our great nation take immense pride in his devotion and service to his country. The importance of our Sailors is immeasurable; people like Daniel Fugett 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 he is on our team."

Because of the stressful environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners 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.

“I like having the experience of visiting various places world-wide, while I accomplish the Navy’s mission,” Fugett said.

Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a submarine, challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the crew. The crews are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Fugett and other Submarine Squadron 20 sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“I learned the value of teamwork and I am just a small part of a big organization,” Fugett added. “Everyone has a role to play and I appreciate the dedication everyone brings to this great organization."