SILVERDALE, Wash. — A 2011 First Presbyterian Christian Academy High School graduate and Ludowici native is serving aboard one of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines, living and working at a Navy base in Silverdale.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Stafford is a torpedoman on the USS Michigan (SSGN 727), which is based in Silverdale, about 15 miles west of Seattle across Puget Sound. Torpedomen are responsible for everything dealing with torpedoes, unloading and offloading, force protection and small-arms weapons systems.
“Our job is the defense of the submarine from other ships and forces on land,” Stafford said. “It’s exciting.”
As a sailor with numerous responsibilities, Stafford said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person.
“Serving in the Navy has given me a good source of discipline,” he said. “I have improved in all areas of my job and learned a lot of job skills.”
Stafford said he is proud of the work he is doing as a member of the crew, protecting America on the world’s oceans.
“I like the camaraderie on the boat,” he said. “It is a lot smaller, so we’re all pretty close.”
Because of the demanding nature of service aboard submarines, sailors like Stafford 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.
“All of the on-the-job-training is very rewarding for me,” Stafford said.
Taufui graduates from basic training
Air Force Airman Kelly S. Taufui recently graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas.
Taufui, a 2013 graduate of Liberty County High School, is the daughter of Joaquin and Kathy Sanchez of Hinesville and the wife of Kitione Taufui.