Thursday, 15 July 2021 14:41

Clifton Park Native Serves as a Member of U.S. Navy’s “Silent Service”

By Stephanie Fox, Navy Office of Community Outreach | News
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class, Amanda Rae Moreno Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class, Amanda Rae Moreno

GROTON, CT — A Clifton Park native is serving in the U.S. Navy at Naval Submarine Base New London, supporting the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.

Petty Officer 3rd Class John Kennedy, a 2018 Shenendehowa High School graduate, joined the Navy two-and-a-half years ago. Today, Kennedy serves as a Navy diver.

“I joined the Navy because I wanted to help people,” said Kennedy. “The Navy keeps everyone safe by doing the work that other people don’t want to do.”

According to Kennedy, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Clifton Park.

“Growing up, my mother always told me not to quit things just because they’re difficult,” said Kennedy. “That lesson helped me get through the challenging schooling and physical requirements that are needed to be selected as a Navy diver.”

Fast, maneuverable and technically advanced, submarines are some of the most versatile ships in the Navy, capable of silently conducting a variety of missions around the world.

There are three basic types of submarines: fast attack submarines (SSN), ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) and guided-missile submarines (SSGN). 

Fast 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 Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines, often referred to as “boomers,” serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSBNs are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles. Their 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.

Guided-missile submarines 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 Operations Forces requirements. Each SSGN is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.

Serving in the Navy means Kennedy is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“As a member of the Navy, I know we are doing all we can to keep all the bad stuff out,” said Kennedy. “We do the dirty work to keep our country safe.” 

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

“What our undersea forces accomplish every day is vitally important to our nation’s defense,” said Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, Commander, Submarine Forces. “Our Submarine Force is a critical part of global maritime security and the nation’s nuclear triad. Every day, our submariners are at the tip of the spear, forward deployed and ready - from the depths, we strike!”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Kennedy, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.

“Serving in the Navy means everything to me,” added Kennedy. “Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to serve, and now I get to live out that dream.”

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