By Petty Officer 1st Class James H. Green
A 1996 Bloomingdale Senior High School graduate and Brandon native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of an integrated crew of sailors and civilian mariners working aboard the expeditionary submarine tender, USS Emory S. Land.
Petty Officer 1st Class Dennis Cope serves in Guam as part of the forward deployed naval force in the Pacific.
He is in charge of all electrical planning for submarine repairs aboard the ship.
“Guam sailors are located at our nation’s most strategically important forward-deployed submarine base, and the missions they conduct at the tip of the spear are incredible,” said Capt. David Schappert, Commander, Submarine Squadron 15. “They are constantly challenged and continually rise to meet and exceed expectations. Guam is the place to be for submariners, and we have the ‘Go Guam!’ initiative to showcase all the great things we do out here.”
With a crew of 41 officers and 650 enlisted, submarine tenders are 649 ft. long and weigh approximately 23,347 tons. A steam-powered propulsion system helps push submarine tenders through the water at nearly 21 mph.
“The sailors aboard Emory S. Land continue to exceed all expectations while supporting submarines and surface ships in the 5th and 7th Fleet area of operations,” said Capt. Mark Prokopius, commanding officer of USS Emory S. Land. “Their hard work and professionalism makes me proud of each and every one of them.”
Sailors aboard submarine tenders support deployed submarines as well as surface combatant ships.
“These sailors continue to impress me with the level of effort and expertise they put into successfully completing their mission day-in and day-out,” Rear Adm. Frederick Roegge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said. “Their actions and dedication to service enables the Submarine Force to excel in the undersea domain.”
“For me the best thing about serving on this boat is its location,” said Cope. “Guam is a great place to be stationed and I like the opportunity to experience the different culture.”
The integrated crew of sailors and civilian mariners build a strong fellowship while working alongside each other, Cope explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“Serving in the Navy has allowed me to be part of moving America forward in the world and I am proud of that,” Cope added.