SANTA RITA, Guam — A 2012 Point Pleasant High School graduate and Point Pleasant, West Virginia, native is aiding the U.S. Navy’s silent service in the submarine community as part of a hybrid crew of Sailors and civilian mariners working aboard the expeditionary submarine tender, USS Emory S. Land.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachariah Thomas is a hull maintenance technician serving aboard the Guam-based submarine tender, one of two submarine tenders in the U.S. Navy, conducting coordinated tended moorings and afloat maintenance in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.
“Growing up in West Virginia helped me work better with people from different backgrounds,” added Thomas. “It definitely helped me with applying team work once I joined.”
A Navy hull maintenance technician is responsible for planning, supervising and performing tasks necessary for fabrication, installation, maintenance, repair and inspection of shipboard structures, plumbing, sewage and piping systems. They organize and supervise personnel in maintenance and hull repairs. In addition, they instruct personnel; enforce safety and security procedures and prepare records and reports.
“Before I joined the Navy, I learned hard work and teamwork while earning money to take care of myself,” said Thomas. “I was never handed anything and that helped me out a lot once I enlisted.”
With a crew of 42 officers and 600 enlisted, submarine tenders are 649 feet long and weigh approximately 23,493 tons. Their mission is to provide maintenance, repairs, hotel services, weapons reload and logistics support to deployed guided-missile and fast-attack submarines. Both of the U.S. Navy’s submarine tenders are homeported in Apra Harbor, Guam, and rotate between deployment to support the forward-operating in the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and in port in Guam to support in-port and visiting units.
“I like being on the beach, and honestly, I really like living on an island. It’s a lot different from West Virginia,” said Thomas. “I really like going on the deployments we get to go on too.”
Submarine tenders are additionally capable of providing repair and logistic services to deployed surface ships.
“I am impressed every day by the caliber of the Sailors who serve aboard our ship,” said Capt. Douglas Bradley, commanding officer of USS Emory S. Land. “Our hardworking crew completes an immense amount of work daily aboard this ship. The multitude of different skills and responsibilities is remarkable: submarine and surface ship repair, weapons handling, supply, medical, dental, and more. I am extremely honored to lead and serve this immensely talented and dedicated crew.”
The integrated crew of Sailors and civilian mariners builds a strong fellowship while working alongside each other, Thomas explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot since I’ve been in the Navy,” said Thomas. “ I’ve received a certification within my Navy Enlisted Classification, received a letter of appreciation, earned my enlisted surface warfare device and I’ve picked up rank. My accomplishments make me feel pretty good. All those things make me feel good and a little more free.”
Guam is home to the U.S. Navy’s only submarine tenders, USS Emory S. Land and USS Frank Cable, as well as four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The submarine tenders provide maintenance, hotel services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.
Article submitted by Navy Office of Community Outreach.
Brian T. Glunt is a Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class for Navy Office of Community Outreach.