Morton Native Supports the Navy’s ‘Silent Service’

By LT. CMDR. MARIE TILLERY,

SANTA RITA, Guam – A 1996 East Rankin Academy graduate and Morton, Mississippi native, is providing a critical maintenance capability to the U.S. Navy’s submarine force in the Pacific as part of a hybrid crew of sailors and civilian mariners working aboard the expeditionary submarine tender, USS Frank Cable.

Chief Machinist’s Mate Jason Crotwell is serving aboard the Guam-based submarine tender, one of only two such ships in the U.S. Navy. The Frank Cable and its crew provides maintenance and resupply capabilities both in port and at sea.

“We write all the work procedures for the submarines, especially those having to do with maintenance,” Crotwell said.

Crotwell credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Morton.

“There was a lot of military influence where I grew up,” Crotwell said. “My father's service in the Army and my grandfather’s in the Navy were also big influences.”

Guam is also home to four Los Angeles-class attack submarines, Frank Cable’s primary clients, but the ship can also provide repair and logistic services to other Navy ships like cruisers and destroyers. The submarine tenders provide maintenance, temporary berthing services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.

With a crew of more than 600, Frank Cable is 649 feet long and weighs approximately 23,493 tons.

According to officials at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the ships, submarines, aircraft and Navy personnel forward-deployed to Guam are part of the world’s largest fleet command and serve in a region critical to U.S. national security. The U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. All told, there are more than 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 uniformed and civilian personnel serving in the Pacific.

The integrated crew of sailors and civilian mariners builds a strong fellowship while working alongside each other. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

“We ensure the maintenance on the submarine is done correctly,” Crotwell said. “All the work we do is to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Crotwell is most proud of making chief.

“As a chief, I have more of an opportunity to shape sailors, officers and the future of the Navy,” Crotwell said.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Crotwell 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 Navy the nation needs.

“I'm so proud of doing my part to keep our country safe,” Crotwell said.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown