A 1998 Fairfield High School graduate and Seattle native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard Commander, Submarine Group 9.
Lt. Cmdr. Francis Montojo, a strategic weapons officer, serves at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington, not far from Seattle.
As a strategic weapons officer, Montojo is responsible for overseeing training, operations and certification of the submarine force with expertise in strategic weapons systems matters.
“I enjoy the people I work with,” Montojo said. “They are very motivated, talented and a close-knit group of people. Submariners are a very special group of people in respect to the skills and how close we become through adversity.”
Montojo draws from lessons learned growing up in Seattle.
“Commitment, perseverance and looking out for one another has helped me to continue to push forward and ensure mission accomplishment,” Montojo said.
Guided-missile submarines provide unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy platform. Armed with tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, the submarine performs its mission with a much lower level of risk than what would normally be experienced when deploying this level of capability from surface or air platforms.
The Ohio-class platform capitalizes on its existing strengths of endurance and stealth in maintaining long-term station-keeping duty while forward deployed. In addition to having the ability to deploy more than 150 tactical missiles, the platform can also be configured to support dedicated accommodations for significant numbers of special operations forces, such as Navy SEALs.
Guided-missile destroyers were converted to their present configuration from Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines. And like their nuclear-deterrent predecessors, the decades-old fleet is aging, with the oldest submarines now more than 30 years old, well past their planned service lives. A new and effective successor is critical to national security, and the Navy is well into the process of designing and fielding a more advanced ballistic missile submarine, which will provide the necessary sea-based nuclear deterrence into the 2080s and beyond.
Submarine sailors are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.
“The men and women from across our nation who volunteer for military service embody the fundamental values of honor, courage and sacrifice that are the bedrock of our republic,” said Rear Adm. Blake Converse, Commander, Submarine Group Nine. “They protect and defend America from above, below, and across the world’s oceans. The entire nation should be extremely proud of the hard work that these sailors do every single day to support the critical mission of the Navy and the submarine force.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Montojo and other sailors know they are part of a legacy, one that will prove a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving means I’ve been able to do something to help contribute to others and do my part for my country and the rest of the world,” Montojo said. “We have such a big responsibility on the world stage and through my service I’m able to do my part.”