Modern attack submarines are the most technologically advanced and capable undersea warfighters in the world. Operating these highly complex submarines require sailors from the U.S. Navy’s submarine community, also known as the “Silent Service.”
Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryce Wood, a 2015 Sequim High School graduate and Sequim native, has served for two years and works as a Navy electician’s mate (nuclear) serving aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines, USS Charlotte, homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
As a Navy electician’s mate (nuclear), Wood is responsible for operating the nuclear reactors that are on our submarines and carriers, and maintain the electronic systems that protect the reactor.
Wood credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Sequim.
“Growing up, I learned the importance of dedication and thoroughness in my work which shows in my attentiveness to my current duties in watchstanding,” said Wood.
Jobs are highly varied aboard the submarine. Approximately 130 sailors 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.
Because of the demanding 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.
Regardless of their specialty, everyone 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.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Wood is most proud of completing his training pipleines. His next step is qualifying for his in-rate watch stations and submarines.
“This makes me proud because I am closer to the level of leadership we all strive for and people can rely on,” said Wood.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Wood is serving in a part of the world taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
The U.S. Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many U.S. allies.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Wood, who has military ties with family members who have previously served.
Wood said he is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My father was in the Army, my grandfather and both uncles on my father’s side were in the Navy and also nukes on subs and I have an uncle on my mother’s side that served,” Wood said. “My grandfather is the one who inspired my decision to become a nuke and volunteer for subs.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Wood and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the U.S. Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy gives me the opportunity to serve my country while still advancing my professional skills to set up my success outside the service,” Wood added.