A Brandon native is serving aboard USS Tennessee, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Van Atta, a 2016 Armwood High School graduate, joined the Navy four years ago.
“I joined the Navy because I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school,” said Van Atta. “My family has always been big into supporting troops. Without direction after high school, it felt natural to join the military. There is something really cool about the Navy submarine force. Through nuclear deterrence, we provide a blanket of security for all Americans. I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
Today, Van Atta serves as an electronics technician (nuclear), whose responsibilities include operating and maintaining nuclear reactors.
“I also control the equipment which generates power to the boat,” said Van Atta.
According to Van Atta, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Brandon.
“I come from a place where everyone is a hard worker, and you have to be willing to put forth effort to succeed,” said Van Atta. “That is something you see from a very young age. Everyone has to hustle and grind to do better for themselves. I am able to bring that to work with me in the Navy to put forth the effort necessary to get whatever job I am assigned done.”
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.
Serving in the Navy means Van Atta 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 submarine force is the number one defense asset this country has,” said Van Atta. “We provide nuclear deterrence as a safe blanket of protection for our country.”
As Van Atta 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 every day I have the opportunity to provide the same sense of security to everyone else in the country that has been provided by the people who have come before me,” added Van Atta. “It is the ability to provide a safe space for other people to live in.”