PC sailor serves in Undersea Rescue for Navy
A 2001 Phil Campbell High School graduate and Phil Campbell native is serving aboard the U. S. Navy’s only capable Undersea Rescue Command at Submarine Squadron 11.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Alison King is a Navy yeoman serving with URC.
A Navy yeoman is responsible for paperwork, awards, legal and executive correspondence, travel and other administrative tasks for the command.
“I like getting to work with the leadership triad; I don’t think other rates get to work with the triad as much as we do,” King said. “The presence they have with us is great.”
King credits success in the Navy to lessons learned growing up in Phil Campbell.
“There is a lot more to the world than the three-red-light town I come from,” King said. “I was taught to have an open mind about people, ideas and backgrounds because it’s a big world.”
Submarine Squadron 11 is home to the floating auxiliary dry dock USS Arco and Undersea Rescue Command. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support for all units. Arco is under the operational control of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Submarine Squadron 11, commanded by Capt. Christopher Cavanaugh, also consists of five of the most capable fast-attack nuclear-powered submarines in the world: USS Pasadena, USS Alexandria, USS Scranton, USS Annapolis and USS Hampton are maintained by Arco.
“We go where others can’t” is the motto of SUBPAC and is perhaps one-of-the-most difficult and demanding assignments in the Navy. According to Navy officials, there is not an instant during their tour as a submariner that they can relinquish their responsibility thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface.
The most recent example was in early November 2017, when the URC received the call to mobilize its submarine rescue unit. For the first time in more than 15 years, sailors were quickly loading equipment and systems onto military aircraft within 24 hours for a real-life rescue mission off the coast of Argentina, where the ARA San Juan had lost contact.
“To be a part of that – not many people get a chance to do that very often because not many subs get lost,” said King, who participated in the rescue mission.
The command constantly trains, both in the U.S. and with foreign navies, to be ready for what is a rare occurrence: the need to perform an undersea rescue. URC conducts its mission using deep submergence systems including a remotely operated underwater vehicle, submarine rescue chamber, pressurized rescue module and side scan sonar.
Submariners and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear, and supporting them is SUBPAC’s primary mission and is essential to keep submarines and crew ready, effectively employed and equipped with the best possible tools and enabling capabilities.
This work is to maintain U.S. undersea superiority. The Force is truly “forged by the sea.”
The legacy of the Pacific Submarine Force, established in World War II, continues today. Armed with the finest ships in the world, manned by the most professional sailors, the Pacific Submarine Force will continue to ensure America’s critical access to the world’s ocean trade routes, provide credible defense against any hostile maritime forces and project power from the sea to the shore when needed.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for King, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. King said she is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My paternal grandfather retired from the Navy, and he influenced me to join the Navy,” said King.
As a member of the U.S. Navy’s silent service, King and other URC sailors know they are a part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means I am part of something that’s bigger than myself, and it means following in the footsteps of my grandfather,” added King. “It means doing something I didn’t think I was capable of at a younger age.”
This story was written and contributed by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Bill Steele, Navy Office of Community Outreach. Photo was taken and contributed by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Alex Diaz.