Roanoke Native Serves With Pride as Member of U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force

A Roanoke native is serving aboard the USS Hampton, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines. Lt. j.g. Warner McGhee, a 2016 Patrick Henry High School graduate, joined the Navy two years ago.

“I wanted a challenge and the submarine community is the perfect place to be,” said McGhee. “It is a complex job that will constantly challenge my abilities and also give me the skills I will need in the civilian world later on in life.”

Today, McGhee serves as an engineer officer of the watch giving him responsibility for leading a division of sailors and a watch team to run a nuclear power plant while underway.

McGhee relies upon skills and values from lessons learned in Roanoke to succeed in the military. “My parents taught me to strive earnestly every day, to live with purpose and to always work my hardest,” said McGhee.

Known as America’s “apex predators,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically-advanced vessels. These submarines can conduct rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, to further 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 hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, according to Navy officials. They also strike targets ashore with cruise missiles, carry and deliver Navy SEALs, engage in mine warfare and conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The Virginia-class SSN is the most advanced submarine in the world today. It combines stealth and payload capability to meet combatant commanders’ demands in this era of strategic competition.

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.

The Columbia-class SSBN will replace the current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s. It will be the largest, most capable and most advanced submarine produced by the United States.

Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.

Strategic deterrence is the Nation’s ultimate insurance program, according to Navy officials. As a member of the submarine force, McGhee is part of a rich 122-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy to defend America and its allies.

Serving in the Navy means McGhee is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

Lt. j.g. Warner McGhee Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
Sang Kim, Naby.

“The Navy protects the freedom of the seas for the U.S. and the rest of the world,” said McGhee. “We also help to protect smaller countries from economic and political bullying.”

More than 90 percent of all trade travels by sea, and fiber optic cables on the ocean floor carry 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic. Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to ready sailors and a strong Navy.

“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.

“The U.S. Navy – forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power – deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”

As McGhee and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy. “Serving means working hard every day and prioritizing the welfare of my shipmates,” added McGhee.

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