SILVERDALE, WA. – A 2006 Newton High School graduate and Newton, New Jersey, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard a unique guided-missile submarine, USS Ohio, one of only four in the Navy’s fleet.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Frolich, a sonar technician on a submarine, serves aboard the submarine based at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington, not far from Seattle.
As a sonar technician, Frolich is responsible for evaluating the contact picture in the ocean through sensors.
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“I like being able to see what's going through my job equipment,” Frolich said. “I enjoy working with the crew and how we come together as a team.”
Frolich draws from lessons learned growing up in Newton.
“Math has helped me a lot because it has a lot to do with my current job responsibilities,” Frolich 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 submarines like USS Ohio 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, Frolich and other sailors know they are part of a legacy, one that will prove a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“It's important to serve the country and I get the opportunity to do something not a lot of people get to do,” Frolich said.