A Charlotte native is serving aboard the USS Wyoming, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.
Seaman Ambokile Thompson, a 2018 Butler High School graduate, joined the Navy two years ago.
“I joined the Navy to explore my options in life on my own in the quickest way possible,” said Thompson. “I wanted to be more disciplined, learn more about myself, take care of myself financially and learn what it is like to live life on my own.”
Today, Thompson serves as an electronics technician (navigation), whose responsibilities include maintaining and working on electronics pertaining to the navigation of the submarine.
Thompson said the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Charlotte.
“My hometown taught me patience when dealing with diverse groups of people and how to take care of myself,” said Thompson.
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.
As a member of the submarine force, Thompson 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 Thompson 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.
“The Navy contributes really well to national security,” said Thompson.
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 cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States are directly linked to a strong and ready Navy. A major component of that maritime security is homeported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
“We do two big things here in King’s Bay: we send SSBNs on Strategic Deterrence Patrols and we forward deploy our guided missile submarines overseas,” said Rear Adm. John Spencer, Commander, Submarine Group Ten. “This work is essential to uphold the number one mission of the Navy: strategic deterrence. And this is the only home port for both of these types of submarines on the East Coast.”
Strategic deterrence is the Nation’s ultimate insurance program, and for decades, Kings Bay has been home to Ohio Class SSBN 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.
As Thompson and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy means that I am protecting the people I love the most,” Thompson said. “I joined to know that I am doing what I can to keep my friends and family safe.”
If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.
©2021 Cox Media Group