Just two years out of Mission Hills High School, Seaman Dylan Rouse is in charge of one of the most powerful ballistic submarines in the U.S. Navy. The Escondido native now spends his days aboard the USS Pennsylvania, hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean, serving as part of a team of electronic technicians that sleep within walking distance of a nuclear powered propulsion system.
The submarine, in a class nicknamed “Boomers,” measures smaller than most one-bedroom apartments, at 560 feet long and only 42 feet wide. They are designed to spend up to 77 days straight under the water and fire intercontinental ballistic missiles on command. It’s tight quarters that call for specialized training and rigorous testing — each of the 150-person crew must know how to operate and repair every system on the sub.
Says Rouse of spending his days so close to his co-workers: “Because of our environment, life is a lot less formal on a sub but it’s worth it. You have more leeway in working and dealing with high ranks, which makes for great camaraderie.”
The USS Pennsylvania recently returned home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in June, after an impressive 140-day strategic deterrent patrol, now officially the longest patrol completed by an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.