By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Rae Moreno, Navy Office of Community Outreach
SANTA RITA, Guam – A 1986 Chopticon High School graduate and Patuxent River, Maryland, native is serving with the U.S. Navy assigned to a forward-deployed submarine squadron consisting of some of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.
Capt. Tim Poe is the commodore of Submarine Squadron 15 in Guam.
As the commodore for Submarine Squadron 15, Poe is responsible for managing a fleet of forward-deployed submarines.
Poe credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Patuxent River.
“I grew up in a Navy town and I am third generation Navy,” Poe said. “I joined the Navy late. I was 21 when I went to boot camp. Having some experience in the civilian workforce has helped me find solutions when I encounter problems in the Navy.”
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 Poe. “It’s spectacular the work our sailors do. We ask a lot of them and they always meet the challenge.”
According to Navy officials, 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.
“Being able to mentor young sailors and develop them into warfighters is the most rewarding aspect of this job,” Poe said.
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, Poe is most proud of the accomplishments of sailors serving under him.
“I have had command three times and each time I’ve had sailors under me who have excelled,” said Poe. “I am very proud when I see a junior sailor become a chief petty officer or a junior officer take command. It’s the legacy of seeing people who have worked for me before becoming great leaders.”
Serving in the Navy means Poe 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 the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that 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, Poe and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“I am a very patriotic person,” Poe said. “With a long family tradition of Navy service, it means a lot to me to serve my country and give back any way I can.”