By Lt. Lily Hinz, Kings Bay Ga., Public Affairs Officer
Provided by Navy Office of Community Outreach
(KINGS BAY, Ga) A 2000 Estacado High School graduate and Lubbock, Texas native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the world’s most advanced ballistic missile submarines, USS Tennessee, Gold Crew.
Chief Petty Officer Michael Rios, a logistics specialist, serves aboard the Kings Bay-based boat, one of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
As a logistics specialist, Rios, is responsible for managing the submarine’s budget, as well as ensuring that all necessary supplies and parts are available to his crew.
“I enjoy providing great customer service,” said Rios. “The crew relies on me to get the parts and supplies they need to ensure we complete the mission, and I take pride in that.”
The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as “boomers,” serve as undetectable launch platforms for intercontinental ballistic missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles, and they are the only survivable leg of the nation’s strategic nuclear forces, which also include land-based missiles and aircraft. The Ohio-class design allows the submarines to operate for 15 or more years between major overhauls.
According to Navy officials, submarine sailors 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.
“We demand the highest standards from our sailors – both professionally and personally,” said Rear Adm. Randy Crites, commander, Submarine Group 10 in Kings Bay. “Their chain of command, family and our great nation take immense pride in their devotion and service. These sailors 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. I’m so very proud these sailors are on our team.”
“The best thing about serving on a submarine is the camaraderie that the crew builds over time,” said Rios. “It’s not just the camaraderie among sailors, but also our families come together and look out for each other, which I think is pretty cool.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Rios and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“I’ve received a lot of mentorship, and it’s not always professional in nature,” said Rios. “That mentorship from my leadership over the years has helped me become a well-rounded individual.”