As citizens of Gales Ferry go about their daily lives, members of the U.S. Navy’s “Silent Service” work beneath the ocean’s waves, continuing a tradition that only a small fraction of military members will ever know: strategic deterrence. Seaman Recruit Cody Crawford, above, assigned to USS Maryland hails from Gales Ferry and is a 2017 graduate of Ledyard High School who takes on the task to execute one of the Defense Department’s most important mission of strategic deterrence. Crawford, who credits continued success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Gales Ferry, is a sonar technician stationed at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, homeport to the Ohio-class ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarines.
“I learned to never give up no matter how hard and keep going from my time playing in sports,” Crawford said.
The Navy's ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs), often referred to as "boomers," serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles, according to Jablon. They are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles if directed by the President. The Ohio-class design allows the submarines to operate for 15 or more years between major overhauls. On average, the submarines spend 77 days at sea followed by 35 days in-port for maintenance.
Crawford is part of the boat's gold crew, one of the two rotating crews, which allow the boat to be deployed on missions more often without taxing one crew too much. A typical crew on this submarine is approximately 150 officers and enlisted sailors.