A 2011 graduate of Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton is serving with the U.S. Navy aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines, USS Key West.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Neumann is a machinist's mate (nuclear) aboard the Guam-based submarine, responsible for managing and repairing the nuclear propulsion plants and power-generating systems on the boat.
Attack submarines 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.
Because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, according to Navy officials, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly-trained and skilled people in the Navy. Regardless of their specialty, everyone 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.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Neumann is most proud of being the lead for a nuclear reactor compartment maintenance.
“It was challenging, but it ensured that Key West would meet its mission,” Neumann said.
Serving in the Navy means Neumann is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Neumann and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“Serving in the Navy has been a chance at a new start at life," Neumann said. "The Navy has brought me a lot of self-improvement.”