Snow Hill Native Serving Aboard Attack Submarine

Snow Hill Native Serving Aboard Attack Submarine
Snow Hill

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A 2013 Snow Hill High School graduate and Snow Hill native is part of a select crew, protecting and defending America aboard the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Mississippi.

Seaman David Ainsworth is a fire control technician aboard Mississippi, one of the Virginia-class submarines based at the Navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

“The uniqueness and expertise of the crew really makes the boat a great place to learn and grow,” said Ainsworth.

Mississippi, commissioned in Pascagoula, Miss. in 2012, is longer than a football field at 377 feet and can sail under the waves at more than 30 mph.

Mississippi, like all attack submarines in the Navy’s fleet, can carry out an array of missions on the world’s oceans in defense of America.

“The Navy’s attack submarines are at the forefront of the nation’s warfighting capabilities,” said Commander Tory Swanson, commanding officer, USS Mississippi. “Our primary missions include hunting enemy submarines and surface ships, launching cruise missiles at enemy targets far inland, and covertly delivering special operations forces to the fight.”

Because of the demanding nature of service aboard submarines, sailors like Ainsworth 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.

“I handle and maintain the weapon systems on board our submarine,” said Ainsworth.

“In peacetime, our stealth allows us to observe the activities of potential adversaries,” said Swanson. “Nuclear power and the ability to make our own water and oxygen give our submarines unmatched endurance, allowing us to deploy anywhere in the world’s oceans, unseen, and remain there as long as necessary.”

The training is demanding, as the crew needs to be ready to respond to any kind of situation that may arise while at sea and endure long periods of time submerged deep below the surface of the ocean.

“While Mississippi has some of the most advanced technology in the world, submarining remains a people business at the heart,” said Swanson. “Well-trained, well-disciplined professional Sailors are what bring the ship to life. When we go to sea, each of us entrusts our lives to the actions of every other crewmember. This requires an extraordinary amount of trust in each other. Those who wear the gold and silver dolphins signifying ‘qualified in submarines’ have demonstrated that they embody these high standards of personal integrity, accountability and responsibility. Working with people like this is why I became a submariner in the first place.”

The rigorous nature of submarine service is challenging, but Ainsworth enjoys it and believes it makes the crew tighter.

“It makes me feel proud the way civilians respect and look at you when you wear the uniform,” said Ainsworth. “I enjoy the submarine service because there’s always something new to learn.”

Being an attack submarine sailor has meant spending a lot of time away from his friends and family, but Ainsworth believes in the work he is doing.

“Deployments give you the knowledge and time to complete qualifications and increase your knowledge,” said Ainsworth.