Chief Petty Officer Brandon Shellenberger of North Myrtle Beach is a missile technician aboard the USS Mississippi, one of the Virginia-class, nuclear-powered attack submarines based at the Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Mississippi, commissioned in Pascagoula, Miss., in 2012, is longer than a football field at 377 feet and can sail under the waves at more than 30 mph.
“The Navy’s attack submarines are at the forefront of the nation’s warfighting capabilities,” said Cmdr. Tory Swanson, commanding officer, USS Mississippi. “Our primary missions include hunting enemy submarines and surface ships, launching cruise missiles at enemy targets far inland and covertly delivering special operations forces to the fight.”
Because of the demanding nature of service aboard submarines, sailors like Shellenberger are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation that can last several months. The crews have to be highly motivated and adapt quickly to changing conditions.