A Galena native is serving in the U.S. Navy at Naval Submarine Support Center.
Chief Petty Officer David Crawford, a 2000 graduate of St. Francis DeSales High School, is a hospital corpsman serving at the Kings Bay-based command, supporting Ohio-class ballistic and guided missile submarines.
A Navy hospital corpsman is responsible for medically screening 200 sailors, performing medical readiness inspections, and radiation health audits for eight boats.
“I like taking care of sailors on a personal and professional level and making sure their needs are met,” Crawford said.
Measuring 560 feet long, 42 feet wide and weighing more than 16,500 tons, a nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the Ohio-class submarines through the water at more than 20 knots.
The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as “boomers,” serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental ballistic missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols, and the precise delivery of missiles if directed by the president.
The Ohio-class design allows the submarines to operate for 15 or more years between major overhauls. On average, the submarines spend 77 days at sea followed by 35 days in port for maintenance.
“We demand the highest standards from our sailors — both professionally and personally,” said Rear Admiral Randy Crites, Commander, Submarine Group Ten in Kings Bay, Georgia. “Chief Petty Officer Crawford’s chain of command, family, and our great nation take immense pride in his devotion and service to his country. The importance of our sailors is immeasurable; people like David Crawford are absolutely crucial to ensuring our ships and submarines are operating at their best — always mission ready, providing our nation with the greatest navy the world has ever known.”
Because of the stressful 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. The training is highly technical and each crew member has to be able to operate, maintain and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also 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.
“I like the camaraderie I receive with submariners,” said Crawford. “I worked with Marines and Air Wing Squadron personnel and my relationship with submariners are unique and rewarding.”
Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a submarine, challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the crew. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Crawford and other Naval Submarine Support Center sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes. “I learned that providing assistance to others on an international level opposed to a local level is much more rewarding,” Crawford added. “I like taking a negative situation and making it into something better.”