Aiken sailor reflects on key role in nuclear submarine fleet

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Jackson
Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Jackson(Contributed)
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 1:11 PM EDT
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SAN DIEGO - An Aiken native is serving with Submarine Squadron 11, which supports the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Jackson, a 2012 Aiken High School graduate, joined the Navy three years ago.

“I wanted to see what opportunities were out there to serve in some capacity,” said Jackson.

Today, Jackson serves as a nuclear electrician’s mate.

A nuclear electrician’s mate is responsible for maintaining and operating the submarine’s electrical systems.

Jackson relies upon skills and values from lessons learned in Aiken to succeed in the military.

“I learned to look for opportunities outside your comfort zone,” said Jackson.

Known as America’s “apex predators,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically-advanced vessels. These submarines can conduct rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, to further U.S. national security.

There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines, ballistic-missile submarines and guided-missile submarines.

Serving in the Navy means Jackson is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the national defense strategy.

“Most of our borders are surrounded by water,” said Jackson. “To protect the oceans is to protect our country and the world.”

More than 90 percent of all trade travels by sea, and fiber optic cables on the ocean floor carry 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic.

Sailors like Jackson have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“Qualifying as an electrical operator is something I’m really proud of accomplishing,” said Jackson. “It’s a difficult experience, but you gain the tools and skills you need to overcome anything.”

As Jackson and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy is about looking out for the people I work with,” added Jackson. “It’s one big team, and we all work together and take care of each other.”