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OC native serves on USS Maryland

A 2012 Stephen Decatur High School graduate and Ocean City native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the world’s most advanced ballistic missile submarines, USS Maryland (SSBN 738).
Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Rogers is a sonar technician (submarine) serving aboard the Kings Bay-based boat, one of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.  
A Navy sonar technician is responsible for listening to sounds in the water to determine what kind of ship is out there and what actions need to be taken.
“It’s great to meet so many new people within the Navy,” Rogers said. “You build lasting relationships with a variety of different people.”
Measuring 560 feet long, 42 feet wide and weighing more than 16,500 tons, a nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the ship through the water at more than 20 knots.
The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as “boomers,” serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental ballistic missiles. 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.
“We demand the highest standards from our Sailors – both professionally and personally,” said Rear Admiral Randy Crites, Commander, Submarine Group Ten in Kings Bay, Ga. “Petty Officer Rogers’ chain of command, family and our great nation take immense pride in his devotion and service to his country.
“The importance of our Sailors is immeasurable; people like Andrew Rogers are absolutely crucial to ensuring our Ships and Submarines are operating at their best – always mission ready, providing our nation with the greatest Navy the world has ever known. I’m so very proud he is on our team,” Crites continued.
Rogers is part of the boat’s Blue crew, one of the two rotating crews, which allow the ship 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.
Because of the stressful 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.
The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board.  
Regardless of their specialty, everyone also 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.
“You get a sense of purpose while being deployed and I get to build stability for my future,” Rogers said.
Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a submarine, challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the crew. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Rogers and other USS Maryland sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“I joined the Navy right out of high school and I’ve learned how to provide for myself,” Rogers added. “I understand what it takes to be financially stable and more responsible overall.”