Bushkill man earns Blue Jacket of the Year
A recent graduate of East Stroudsburg High School North is making a name for himself in the U.S. Navy. Petty Officer 3rd Class Timothy Sullivan, of Bushkill, last week earned the distinction of Blue Jacket of the Year, an award recognizing him for his outstanding service on board the USS Boise.
“Today is my two-year mark in the Navy,” Sullivan said on Wednesday. “I got Sailor of the Quarter about three weeks ago, so I knew I was in the running — I just didn’t know I got picked.”
“Last Friday, they called me front and center during quarters on the pier: that’s when the captain calls all available personnel out in front of the ship to put out general information, talk about what happened this week and talk to the whole crew as one. Then, they read the letter aloud.”
The award letter, signed by Commanding Officer Kris Lancaster, commends Sullivan for his service on board the Los Angeles 688-class attack submarine. Sullivan joined the crew in April, serving as an information system technician for the submarine’s secret and unclassified networks.
“The Blue Jacket of the Year award is a yearly award to recognize sailors for their outstanding and professional performance during the fiscal year,” said Petty Officer 1st Class John Benton, the vessel’s personnel officer, in a Wednesday statement. “Members are selected quarterly by their peers to participate in the year board that happens in late October. Petty Officer Sullivan was boarded and then selected from his peers as the Blue Jacket of the Year for his diligence and strict adherence while serving onboard USS BOISE (SSN 764) from January to September 2018.”
Sullivan graduated from East Stroudsburg High School North in 2016, entering the Navy soon thereafter. The aspiring sailor was inspired by the service of his family members, including two uncles and his grandfather, he said. His grandfather’s efforts during the second World War spurred him to pursue a less common field within the military.
“I saw what my grandfather did as a diver in World War II,” he said. “He did something really honorable and different. Not everybody can say they know someone who did that.”
“I wanted to do something different but also serve my country, something that would challenge myself. Serving on a submarine — that’s something I know a lot of people say they would never dream of doing. So, I was kind of drawn to that.”
Sullivan’s role comes with a variety of responsibilities aboard a submarine, he also said. The young sailor splits his time between specialized information technology work and the general duties of a submariner.
“It’s kind of like two jobs,” he said. “On the submariner side, my job is to protect the ship and make sure of the safety of the crew. A 688-class has really small crews, with maybe 140-or-so people to run things.”
“Sometimes, my job is force protection, which involves armed watches, checking IDs for anyone who comes aboard. It can also be casualty response, so if there is flooding, I’m one of the main people responsible for taking charge. If there’s a fire, we’re trained to dress up in full firefighter gear and deal with that.”
During the other hours, Sullivan serves in a more specialized role. He and a team of two other technicians who report to the chief of their division work to keep the submarine’s technology systems secure and operational at all times.
“It can involve everything from fixing printers to scanning networks for viruses and unauthorized activity,” he said. “I just rebuilt one of our backup servers, and there’s a plethora of other random stuff I may need to take care of.”
“It’s only a four-person division, so any of that stuff falls on us — especially since the Navy is trying to go paperless.”
Sullivan has performed the duties of both roles in an exemplary manner, according to the commendations of his commander. The Blue Jacket of Year award letter praises Sullivan’s knowledge of the submarine’s computer network as the key to successfully repairing the onboard training and classified backup systems.
“His diligence and strict adherence to the highest standards of excellence led to his selection as the Blue Jacket of the Year for 2018,” the letter says. “Petty Officer Sullivan’s professional ability, personal initiative and devotion to duty reflected credit upon himself and were keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
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