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Southside grad serving aboard stealthy, attack submarine

Published on Thursday, April 14, 2016

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Ensign Tyshaun Spencer is a supply officer aboard the USS North Carolina, one of only 12 Virginia-class attack submarines in the Navy fleet.
 
 
 

U.S. Navy Photo

Ensign Tyshaun Spencer is a supply officer aboard the USS North Carolina, one of only 12 Virginia-class attack submarines in the Navy fleet.

 

 

 



Enlarge photo

A Mark 48 torpedo (left) and a Tomahawk missile (in the sheath on the right), are being held in cradles. The submarine can carry as many as a dozen torpedoes at any time, but if necessary, the torpedo room can be largely cleared out – it is mostly modular ­– and a Special Forces crew of as many as 36 can be housed here.
 

U.S. Navy Photo

A Mark 48 torpedo (left) and a Tomahawk missile (in the sheath on the right), are being held in cradles. The submarine can carry as many as a dozen torpedoes at any time, but if necessary, the torpedo room can be largely cleared out – it is mostly modular ­– and a Special Forces crew of as many as 36 can be housed here.

 



Enlarge photo

It is said that submarine crews are some of the best fed in the military. That's because there is not enough room to carry thousands of pre-prepared meals, such as surface ships, meaning that the cooks must prepare meals from scratch. And good food helps morale, something that's important for a crew that can be underwater for 90 days or more.
 

U.S. Navy Photo

It is said that submarine crews are some of the best fed in the military. That's because there is not enough room to carry thousands of pre-prepared meals, such as surface ships, meaning that the cooks must prepare meals from scratch. And good food helps morale, something that's important for a crew that can be underwater for 90 days or more.

 



Enlarge photo

Most of the crew stay in six bunk rooms, and up to eight crew members can share those rooms (with at least two on watch at any given time).
 
 

U.S. Navy Photo

Most of the crew stay in six bunk rooms, and up to eight crew members can share those rooms (with at least two on watch at any given time).

 

 



By U.S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Bill Steele

A 2010 Southside High School graduate and Greenville native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard one of the Navy’s newest attack submarines, the USS North Carolina.

Ensign Tyshaun Spencer is a supply officer aboard the Pearl Harbor-based boat, one of only 12 Virginia-class attack submarines in the Navy’s fleet.  The Virginia class is comprised of the Navy’s newest and most advanced subs.

“My job is all about helping the crew,” said Spencer. “That's what I joined the Navy to do.”

With a crew of 130 men, this submarine is 377 feet long and has a diameter of 34 feet and weighs approximately 7,800 tons.  A nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at more than 25 mph at depths below 800 feet.

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.

The vessel can carry 38 weapons, including Mark 48 advanced capability torpedoes, Tomahawk cruise missiles and mines.

“Submarine sailors never cease to amaze me with their ability to complete complex missions in the world’s most challenging environments,” said Rear Adm. Fritz Roegge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “Continued U.S. undersea superiority is not possible without their dedication, expertise and professionalism.”

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.

The training is highly technical, and each crew 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.

“The caliber of guys that I'm working with, they're some of the smartest, most dedicated people that you could find anywhere,” Spencer said.

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.

“The Navy gave me an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to become a man,” Spencer added. “It has given me a chance to help other people.”

 

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