Tacoma Native Serves as a Member of U.S. Navy’s ‘Silent Service’

Submitted by Navy Office of Community Outreach

A Tacoma, Washington, native is serving aboard USS Nebraska, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Randolph Kim serves as a sonar technician and joined the Navy to serve his country.

“I’ve always wanted to serve my country to better myself and to learn new skills that I can use to help other people,” said Kim.

Kim attended Bethel High School and graduated in 2018. Today, Kim uses skills and values similar to those found in Tacoma.

“Growing up I learned the golden rule,” said Kim. “Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s also important to follow your passion.”

These lessons have helped Kim while serving aboard USS Nebraska.

Known as America’s “Silent Service,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically advanced vessels. These submarines are capable of conducting rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, 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).

Fast-attack submarines are designed 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 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.

Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes. As a member of the submarine force, Kim is part of a rich 121-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.

Serving in the Navy means Kim is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“We contribute to national security by being vigilant so that people at home can be safe,” said Kim.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through underwater fiber optic, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States are directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, and for decades Naval Submarine Base Bangor has been home to Ohio Class ballistic-missile submarines. Beginning in 2028, the new Columbia Class ballistic-missile submarines will arrive and provide continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.

Kim and other sailors have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service. Kim is most proud of earning his submarine warfare qualification.

“Overall, being able to serve and help others is what I’m most proud of,” said Kim. “I’m also proud to earn my ‘fish.’”

‘Fish’ refers to a type of certification for submarine personnel.

As Kim and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions to support national defense, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Being part of something bigger than myself means that we can do what’s right regardless of how big the challenge may be,” added Kim.

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