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Special to the Enquirer Petty Officer 3rd Class Julian Lucky serves aboard the Guam-based USS Key West submarine.

Hartselle native serves in U.S. Navy

A 2014 Hartselle High School graduate and Hartselle native is serving with the U.S. Navy aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines, USS Key West.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Julian Lucky is an electronics technician in navigation aboard the Guam-based submarine, one of four Los Angeles-class submarines forward-deployed on the island.

A Navy electronics technician in navigation is responsible for maintaining electrical and navigation equipment throughout the submarine.

Lucky said he credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Hartselle. 

“It’s important to have a good attitude and not let things bother you,” Lucky said. “It’s important to manage stress effectively.”

Jobs are highly varied aboard the submarine. Approximately 130 sailors make up the submarine’s crew, doing everything from handling weapons to maintaining nuclear reactors. 

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; carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. 

Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time. 

“As the only forward deployed submarine squadron, we are the quick reaction force for the Navy. We can respond quickly to any crisis,” said Capt. Tim Poe, commodore, Submarine Squadron 15. “It’s spectacular, the work our sailors do. We ask a lot of them, and they always meet the challenge.”

Navy officials said because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. 

Submariners are some of the most highly-trained and skilled people in the Navy. Regardless of their specialty, everyone 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. 

“I like the location and being able to execute a variety of unique missions,” Lucky said. “We are the first ones called upon to deploy when needed.”

According to officials at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the ships, submarines, aircraft and Navy personnel forward-deployed to Guam are part of the world’s largest fleet command and serve in a region critical to U.S. national security. 

The U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles – nearly half the Earth’s surface – from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. 

All told, there are more than 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft and more than 130,000 uniformed and civilian personnel serving in the Pacific.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Lucky said he is most proud of receiving the submarine warfare device.

“It was a long, hard process,” Lucky said. “Finally completing my goal was very rewarding. My father also has his submarine warfare device, so we share that together.”

Serving in the Navy means Lucky is part of a world 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.

A key element of the Navy is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Lucky and other sailors know are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes – one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving means defending our country, and I enjoy carrying on my family legacy of service,” Lucky said.