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NEWS | Sept. 12, 2018

Walton, Kentucky native supports submarine fleet in the Indo Pacific

A Walton, Kentucky native and Walton-Verona High School graduate is currently serving in Yokosuka, Japan as part of Commander, Submarine Group 7 (CSG 7).

Information Systems Technician (Submarine) Christopher Simpson joined the Navy in October 2006. He is in a unique rating among Navy Sailors. Not many ITs get to serve aboard subs. In order to be successful in their unique setting, they receive extensive training in the operation and maintenance of the advanced electronic equipment and computers used in undersea warfare. They also learn to think independently. Most submarines have around 150 Sailors, so sub ITs must multitask and be intimately familiar with every mainframe, database, computer network and cable on the boat.

“I like my job, because it puts an interesting twist on IT work,” explained Simpson. “There’s a lot more stuff that goes into the job that you wouldn’t experience in the surface community or in the civilian world. There are unique challenges in the submarine community. It’s not all about computers.”

Navy officials say submarine duty is inherently arduous and challenging, but builds strong fellowship among members of the crew. Submariners are highly motivated and learn to quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

“The first time I went on a sub, it was exciting,” Simpson said. “I really had to work hard and burn the candle on both ends to meet all my deadlines, do my job and fulfill my duties.”

Simpson joined the Navy as a Master-at-Arms, and served in the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Security Detachment and Naval Security Force Bahrain before his new career led him to the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) Gold Crew in Kings Bay, Georgia.

“My biggest accomplishment in the submarine was getting my dolphins,” said Simpson. “Coming from a community of Master-at-Arms and being new to a community that’s been around for such a long time, I really had to change the way I operated and thought. It was difficult for me, but I overcame and now I’m part of that community.”

Simpson did tours at Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic and Naval Submarine Support Center, both in Kings Bay, Georgia before moving to Japan to serve as CSG 7’s Automated Data Processing (ADP) Leading Petty Officer and Information Systems Security Manager. Simpson said his tour here in Japan ranks among the best he has ever had.

“I like working at CSG7 because it provides me a lot of opportunity to work outside of my rate, in project management, and work with a lot of different people and different organizations. Also, living in Japan is completely different from living in the United States. The culture, the people and the food is just awesome.”

With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the Indo Pacific region, the U.S. has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. CSG 7 is responsible for coordinating a diverse fleet of submarines, surface ships and aircraft deployed to the Western Pacific and the Middle East; two forward-deployed submarine tenders and four attack submarines homeported in Guam; Submarine Squadron 21 in Bahrain; five surveillance towed array sensor system vessels and three oceanographic survey vessels when tasked for Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare operations. Under CSG 7 are two task forces: CTF-74 and CTF-54, which provide theater anti-submarine warfare support from the Red Sea to the International Date Line.