SAN DIEGO – Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Castorpineda, a native of Seven Springs, is one of the sailors continuing a 123-year tradition of service under the sea aboard USS Alexandria, operating out of San Diego.
Castorpineda, a 2019 Spring Creek High School graduate, joined the Navy three years ago.
“I joined the Navy to help my mom get citizenship, to create a better path for my future and because my neighbor was in the Royal Navy,” said Castorpineda.
Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those found in Seven Springs.
“My hometown taught me to have a strong work ethic,” said Castorpineda. “On submarines, there are a lot of small tasks that need to be taken care of because, if they aren’t, it can lead to bigger issues down the line. So, it is important to take initiative and get tasks done right.”
Known as America’s “Apex Predators!,” 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.
There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines (SSN), ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) and guided-missile submarines (SSGN).
Fast-attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. The Virginia-class SSN is the most advanced submarine in the world today. It combines stealth and payload capability to meet Combatant Commanders’ demands in this era of strategic competition.
The Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines, often referred to as “boomers,” serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSBNs are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles.
The Columbia-class SSBN will be the largest, most capable, and most advanced submarine produced by the U.S. – replacing the current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.
Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.
Strategic deterrence is the Nation’s ultimate insurance program, according to Navy officials. As a member of the submarine force, Castorpineda is part of a rich history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.
With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.
“Our mission remains timeless – to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”
As a member of the Navy, Castorpineda is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities, and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Being in the submarine force, everything I do puts our country at an advantage,” said Castorpineda. “I would much rather be at an advantage rather than a disadvantage against our adversaries.”
Castorpineda has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.
“My proudest Navy accomplishment is when I earned my submarine qualification,” said Castorpineda. “There was a lot of energy in the room. It was just one of those moments that started out my career. When I got here as a junior sailor, I didn’t know anything, but that was the moment I realized I actually belong here.”
As Castorpineda and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy means putting time toward my nation to make it better than it was before,” said Castorpineda. “It just means giving back for everything that I have and helping myself progress forward as well.”
Castorpineda is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.
“I would like to thank Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Garza for always pushing me towards qualifying and pushing me to be a better sailor for my division,” added Castorpineda. “They were that hard edge when I needed it.”