NEWS | March 19, 2021

Dreaming of the Silent Service

By Mass Communication 2nd Class Adam K. Thomas, Commander, Submarine Group Seven Public Affairs

Spending hours, days or even months submerged beneath the ocean’s surface is not how most people would imagine spending their lives. But for one Commander Submarine Group 7 (CSG7) Sailor, that is all she has ever dreamed of.

Information Systems Technician (IT) 2nd Class Morgan Marsh, a native of Sparks, Nev., began her Navy career with the goal of accomplishing something not many before her had. She would serve aboard submarines. A target she had set her mind to from an early age as she and her family were watching old submarine movies.

“My brother-in-law, a former member of the Navy and now a current member of the Coast Guard always told me, ‘try to do something no one else has done’ and that stuck with me,” said Marsh. “There is a very small number of women serving aboard subs, so knowing that, and remembering my brother-in-law’s words, has really influenced me to become a submariner.”

Marsh joined the Navy in 2018 and upon arriving at boot camp she thought she had joined as an Information Systems Technician (Submarine), a title given to those ITs who have qualified to serve aboard submarines, but later found out she had in fact joined as a regular IT without the designation of Submariner. However, that didn’t discourage her. In fact, it seemed to her as if she had been chosen by a higher power, as signs pointing her toward submarine service “just kept appearing.”

“I don’t know, maybe I was chosen,” said Marsh. “The signs just kept popping up everywhere. Almost all of my IT school instructors at A-school were Radiomen and then when I got my orders, I found out I’d been assigned to a submarine command: CSG7. I don’t know, it just seemed like the stars were aligning.”

Upon her arrival at CSG7 Marsh immediately began asking what steps were required to become a submariner. She didn’t want to enter into the process lightly and was set on following the proper path to her dreams.

The first step she took was to speak with everyone she could find that could advise her on the process. One of those advisors was Command Master Chief Brett Jackson, CSG7’s command master chief.

“Marsh was extremely excited about the opportunity and idea of becoming a submariner,” said Jackson. “She told me that after learning what she had from members of the watch floor, she knew becoming a submariner was what she wanted to do with her career.”

Marsh also spoke with Lt. Jacqueline Penichet, a mentor and qualified female submariner who had served deployments on both USS Ohio (SSGN 726) and USS Michigan (SSGN 727). Penichet pulled no punches. She told Marsh that it would be no walk in the park.

“To be honest, she said the process would be really difficult,” said Marsh. “But she also pointed me toward the references and instructions I needed to build my package and that helped a lot.”

Marsh spent the next two months doing more research, gathering documentation and preparing the items she had be required to submit. She even received a letter of recommendation from Capt. Jeffery Bierley, CSG7 chief of staff.

“We at Submarine Group 7 are thrilled to have had a positive impact on IT2 Marsh's decision to transition to our community,” said Bierley. “We pride ourselves as submariners on being exemplary leaders, detail-oriented trainers and fierce protectors of our own. I knew from my personal observations and Marsh's reputation on the watch floor that she was just the kind of Sailor who would continue to be an asset to the submarine warfighting team.”

Once Marsh had collected all the needed items, she was ready to submit her package and once she had, it didn’t take long for her to hear back. However the waiting around to find out if she had been accepted was almost more than she could bear.

“I must have gone into the admin office five or six times asking if there had been a response,” said Marsh. “I was so excited hen it finally arrived. I was notified via email that said “welcome to the submarine community,” and a short letter telling me my report date was set for Dec 13th.”

Currently, Marsh is not sure where she will be stationed after attending basic submarine training but says she would really like to go to Bangor, Washington where she will work to earn her enlisted submarine warfare qualification pin.

“I really want to thank everyone at CSG7 that helped me,” said Marsh.  “Now, I just want to learn everything I can about submarines, get to a boat, work hard and earn my fish.”

Commander, Submarine Group 7 directs submarine activities throughout the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Se: two forward-deployed submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), five surveillance towed array sensor system vessels and three oceanographic survey vessels when tasked for theater anti-submarine warfare operation and four attack submarines homeported in Guam.

Commander, Submarine Group 7 will advance the interests of the United States and the security of prosperity of the region by effectively employing forward deployed, combat capable forces across the full spectrum of undersea warfare. We will endeavor to prevent conflict but remain prepared to win decisively.

For more please visit: https://www.facebook.com/submarinegroup7, https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/SG-7, https://www.csp.navy.mil/csg7/