Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Rae Moreno. Petty Officer 2nd Class Kaitlyn Harnage.

A Plant City native is serving aboard USS Georgia, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kaitlyn Harnage, a 2014 Durant High School graduate, joined the U.S. Navy two and a half years ago.

“I joined the Navy to see more of the world and make a difference,” said Harnage.

Today, Harnage serves as an information systems technician (submarine), whose responsibilities include defending the country by listening to others.

According to Harnage, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Plant City.

“Plant City taught me to never give up even when things are difficult,” said Harnage.
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 Harnage 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 to national security because we are the front line underwater,” said Harnage. “Everyone sees the Marines and Army, but we are there before them as frontline defenders on water, not land.”

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, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is 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 of 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.”

As Harnage 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 a part of the small percent of people who took the leap of faith to join the military,” added Harnage. “Not many people get to do it.”

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