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CHIPS Articles: Virginia Beach native, electronics technician serves at sea aboard Navy’s newest and most-advanced attack submarine

Virginia Beach native, electronics technician serves at sea aboard Navy’s newest and most-advanced attack submarine
By Kayla Turnbow, Navy Office of Community Outreach - May 2, 2018
PEARL HARBOR – A Virginia Beach, Virginia, native and 1997 Princess Anne High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard one of the Navy’s newest attack submarines, USS Hawaii.

Chief Petty Officer Travis S. Reed works as an electronics technician (radio) serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 56 fast attack submarines in the U.S. Navy.

A Navy electronics technician (radio) is responsible for the maintenance and operation of all the ships external communications systems.

“I grew up in a Navy town,” said Reed. “I grew up accepting people of different backgrounds. Coming into the Navy, it was not odd to me that people were so diverse. It helps you work well with your shipmates.”

Jobs are highly varied aboard the submarine, according to Navy officials. Approximately 130 men and women make up the submarine’s crew, doing everything from handling weapons to maintaining nuclear reactors.

Navy officials explained that 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; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

"Our submarine teams are small, elite, and rely heavily on extraordinary individual performance," said Rear Adm. Daryl L. Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "It is no surprise that our sailors continue to set the standard for excellence, and the country continues to be well served by their service and sacrifice. I couldn't be more proud to lead this professional fighting force."

According to Navy officials, because of the demanding 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. Regardless of their specialty, everyone 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.

Reed also has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My father and grandfather were in the Navy,” said Reed. “They influenced my choice of service. My father also served on submarines. He didn't push me to join but hearing him talk about it growing up, I knew that I would want to do it.”

Challenging submarine living conditions build strong fellowship among the elite crew, Navy Officials explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

“I have a lot of pride in what I do day-to-day,” said Reed. “I get a feeling that what I do matters. Before the Navy, jobs were just jobs. This is a whole way of life that is meaningful.”

Chief Petty Officer Travis S. Reed works as an electronics technician (radio) serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 56 fast attack submarines in the U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne
Chief Petty Officer Travis S. Reed works as an electronics technician (radio) serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 56 fast attack submarines in the U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne
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