A Reston native and 2008 McLean High School graduate is serving at the U.S. Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific (NSTCP) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Lt. Michael Hughes has served for seven years and works as a Navy submarine officer and is serving within the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. The U.S. Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.
As a Navy submarine officer, Hughes is responsible for driving the ship in three dimensions to accomplishthe assigned mission.
Hughes credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Reston.
“Growing up in a diverse town like Reston prepared me for Navy life where you serve with people from all backgrounds,” said Hughes.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
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; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.
Sailors learn engineering and tactical team training during their courses of instruction required to serve aboard submarines using the most advanced technology. Training is tailored to each ship’s specific needs to develop the skills and expertise required to support operations around the world in war and peace.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to in defense circles as the gateway to the Pacific, means Hughes is serving in a part of the world taking on a new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world's population, many of the world's largest and smallest economies, several of the world's largest militaries, and many U.S. allies. The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Hughes is most proud of earning the Navy Unit Commendation on his last ship, USS New Mexico, for the 2015 deployment.
“While the details are classified, the hard work the entire crew contributed and made is very meaningful,” said Hughes.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Hughes, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Hughes is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My grandfather was a WWII Navy pilot and my father was a Naval Reserve Intelligence officer. They both inspired my decision to join the Navy,” said Hughes. “I plan to carry on the tradition of military service.”
According to Navy officials, supporting the high operational tempo and unique challenges of the submarine force builds strong fellowship and a strong sense of mission.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Hughes and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“The Navy is an opportunity to be a part of something greater than yourself in serving the nation with patriotic Americans from all backgrounds,” added Hughes.