KINGS BAY, Ga.: Submariners comprise only ten percent of the U.S. Navy’s personnel. Still, they play a critical role in carrying out one of the Defense Department’s most vital missions: strategic deterrence. Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Bloodworth, a native of Honey Grove, Texas, is one of the sailors supporting a 123-year tradition of service under the sea to help ensure Americans’ safety.
Bloodworth joined the Navy 13 years ago and today serves as an electronics technician with Trident Refit Facility Kings Bay.“The opportunity to serve my country and have the ability to travel inspired me to join the Navy,” said Bloodworth. “I also looked to join to learn a technical skill that I could apply outside the Navy.”Growing up in Honey Grove, Bloodworth attended Honey Grove High School and graduated in 2007.
Skills and values similar to those found in Honey Grove are identical to those required to succeed in the military.
“Honey Grove taught me perseverance and the ability to overcome any obstacles,” said Bloodworth. “I learned that being from a small town shouldn’t limit what you can do. You can accomplish your goals regardless of your background if you’re determined enough.” These lessons have helped Bloodworth while serving in the Navy.
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 worldwide 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). We designed fast-attack submarines 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 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 called “boomers,” serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. We explicitly designed SSBNs for stealth, extended patrols, and the precise delivery of missiles. The Columbia-class SSBN will be the largest, most capable, and most advanced submarine produced by the U.S. – replacing the current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.
Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and exceptional operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and a complement of heavyweight torpedoes we fire through four tubes.
“Our mission remains timeless – to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”
According to Navy officials, strategic deterrence is the Nation’s ultimate insurance program. As a member of the submarine force, Bloodworth is part of a rich history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in defense of America and its allies.
Serving in the Navy means Bloodworth is part of a team taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities, and maintaining military readiness supporting the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy is all about seapower,” said Bloodworth. “We have the ability to control and maintain a strategic presence and an overall show of force. Especially the submarine community with ballistic missiles and fast attack boats. The Navy provides a fleet of tactical and strategic assets to maintain a standard of seapower and presence to counter any potential opposition.”
With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States links to trained sailors and a strong Navy.
Bloodworth and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“I’m extremely thankful for the experiences I’ve gained since joining the Navy,” said Bloodworth. “Serving my country has allowed me to gain once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
As Bloodworth and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy has given me the ability to represent the area that I’m from and to be able to defend it,” said Bloodworth. “It has also given me the tools to better myself overall and set myself up for whatever the next chapter of life may bring.”
Bloodworth is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.“I have two great-grandfathers who both served in World War II and a great-uncle who served in Vietnam,” added Bloodworth. “I saw all of the opportunities made available to them after their time in the service. I also had a Navy Master Chief who looked out for me as a junior sailor. I was thinking about getting out of the Navy after my first enlistment, but Master Chief Simonds showed me there are those in leadership who care. He set the standard for me on what could be accomplished in the Navy.”