BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach is working to share stories of sailors with their hometowns.
Thursday, News 40 received the story, written by Megan Brown, of a Bowling Green, Kentucky native stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, homeport to all East Coast ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarines.
Cmdr. Karen Rector, a 1988 Warren County Public School systems graduate, joined the Navy 22 years ago.
Today, Rector serves as a chaplain, who’s responsible for providing all religious denominations, caring for everyone and advising sailors.
“I am like the complaint department- listening, advising and teaching sailors,” added Rector.
“I joined the Navy for two reasons,” said Rector. “One, I really like having a roof over my head and eating. The second and biggest one, I was running from God, and God was calling me.”
According to Rector, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Bowling Green.
“When I was raised in Bowling Green, it was primarily rural,” said Rector. “We always worked hard, but my family and neighbors would work together which made it fun. Also, being brought up in church was a nice foundation for moral-ethical standards. I was also in sports which taught me to persevere and not give up. If you start something, you are expected to finish it.”
Known as America’s “Silent Service,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically advanced vessels. These submarines are capable of conducting rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, in furtherance of U.S. national security.
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; conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare.
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.
Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes. As a member of the submarine force, Rector is part of a rich 121-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.
Serving in the Navy means Rector is part of a team 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.
“If the submarines show up, the adversaries don’t want anything to do with that,” said Rector. “The U.S. Navy and all the branches work with other nations to help keep world peace by having a presence.”
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 underwater fiber optic, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy. A major component of that maritime security is homeported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
“We do two big things here in King’s Bay: we send SSBNs on Strategic Deterrence Patrols and we forward deploy our guided missile submarines overseas,” said Rear Adm. John Spencer, Commander, Submarine Group Ten. “This work is essential to uphold the number one mission of the Navy: strategic deterrence. And this is the only home port for both of these types of submarines on the East Coast.”
Strategic deterrence is the Nation’s ultimate insurance program, and for decades, Kings Bay has been home to Ohio Class SSBN ballistic-missile submarines. Beginning in 2028, the new Columbia Class ballistic-missile submarines will arrive and provide continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.
As Rector and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy started out as having money for rent and eating, but it evolved into more,” added Rector. “It became a purpose–God’s purpose. One of the most spiritual things you can have is finding a purpose. It is a real sense of patriotism when you realize the sacrifice of those who came before you. We wouldn’t be the country we are if not for those sacrifices.”
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)