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Ship and Submarine Officers
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Featured Profile for Ship Officer

Andrew Bonderud

I started thinking about joining the Navy when I was in high school. My father was in the Navy and my grandfather was in the Army Air Corps so I have a long tradition of military service in my family. I wanted to not only get a great education, but also serve my country.

I entered the Naval Officer Training Corps on a full scholarship at Vanderbilt University. While in college, I studied political science, Spanish, and math. My ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) training included physical fitness, drill practice, and courses in naval science. Every summer, I was on board either a surface ship or submarine for hands-on experience. At the end of college, I was commissioned as an officer.

I am currently a surface warfare officer on the USS John L Hall, a guided missile frigate that’s stationed in Mayport, Florida. One of the advantages of my job is that I have many different responsibilities. I’ve been trained to become proficient in driving and navigating a ship as the goal is that I will eventually become a commanding officer, a captain of a Navy warship. I am also responsible for the weapon systems. In my last assignment, I oversaw the AEGIS Weapon System that launches Tomahawk missiles. I managed the maintenance, training, and the operations of the weapons systems.

In the role of Surface Warfare Officer, I’ve also served as a Damage Control Assistant, Administrative Officer, Electrical Officer, and Assistant Weapons Officer. I had responsibilities ranging from the electrical distribution for a ship of 400 crew members to all the paperwork and personnel issues for those 400 people. In addition, I’ve coordinated damage control efforts in the event that the ship experienced a fire or flooding while we are at sea.

I’ve had a lot of incredible experiences. I’ve been deployed to the Arabian Gulf to support both ground and air operations. I’ve also deployed to the Mediterranean where we conducted diplomatic engagements and security operations. There have been difficult times, too. During my second deployment to the Arabian Gulf, there was one point when my ship was underway for 72 days straight. These occasions can bring stress and anxiety; at the same time, I know that I’m contributing to the global security and prosperity of regions that would otherwise be vulnerable if not for the presence of the United States Navy working with our allies, our friends and our other navies in those regions.

Day to day, it’s very gratifying for me to be in the United States Navy. 90% of the worlds’ commerce travels over the seas and the United States Navy is the primary force that maintains stability on the high seas. I am a part of an organization that helps to foster prosperity, maintain security and create cooperative relationships with other countries so that we can ensure prosperity not only for the United States, but also for others.

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