Kannapolis native serves as a member of U.S. Navy’s ‘Silent Service’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 2021

By Megan Brown

Navy Office of Community Outreach

KINGS BAY, Ga. – A Kannapolis, North Carolina, native is serving aboard USS Tennessee, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Pierce, a 2002 South Rowan High School graduate, joined the Navy 11 years ago.

“I joined the Navy to provide a steady income to my wife and young children,” said Pierce.

Today, Pierce serves as a missile technician whose responsibilities include maintaining hydraulic and electrical systems, as well as, maintaining the computer systems that control the systems.

According to Pierce, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Kannapolis.

“I learned that hard work and dedication are the only ways to produce the success that you want,” said Pierce.

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, Pierce 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 Pierce 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.

“The Navy contributes to national security through strategic deterrence and maintaining a fleet of water platforms that keep those who may wish to harm us at bay,” said Pierce.

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 Pierce 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 is a way to provide for my family, as well as, ensure that my children will have a future free from oppressive rule or tyranny,” added Pierce. “It enables my kids to have any life they choose.”

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