GROTON, CONN. (WENY) – A Horseheads native is being featured by the US Navy for his work aboard the USS Vermont, one of the world’s “most advanced nuclear-powered submarines”.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dustin Whitesell graduated from Horseheads High School in 2015 and joined the Navy in 2017. He currently serves as an electrician’s mate.

“Prior to joining the Navy, I was working a job that I knew wasn’t going to lead to a career,” said Whitesell. “I wanted to better myself, so I went to the recruiting office and before I knew it I’d joined the Navy.

“My high school wrestling coach would always tell our team that dreams don't happen unless you make them happen. I took that to heart and have used that as a driving force throughout my Navy career.”

There are three basic types of submarines: fast attack submarines, ballistic missile submarines and guided-missile submarines; the USS Vermont is a fast-attack submarine. Those 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.”

“National security is important to provide defense to all people across the globe,” said Whitesell. “The Navy is one of the largest contributors to providing national defense because of our presence throughout the globe and because we are willing to provide aid wherever it is needed.”

According to the Navy, more than 90% of all trade travels by sea and 95% of the world’s international phone and internet traffic is carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor.

“What our undersea forces accomplish every day is vitally important to our nation’s defense,” said Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, Commander, Submarine Forces. “Our Submarine Force is a critical part of global maritime security and the nation’s nuclear triad. Every day, our submariners are at the tip of the spear, forward deployed and ready - from the depths, we strike!”

“It's an honor to serve the Navy and to defend our great Nation,” added Whitesell. “As a sailor, I know I am helping to keep all of my friends and family back home safe.”