A 2015 Albany High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, USS Chicago.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Seth Banks is a machinist's mate (weapons) serving aboard the Guam-based submarine, one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines, a news release said.
A Navy machinist's mate (weapons) is responsible for maintenance of the weapons and small arms onboard as well as the ship's force protection.
“Growing up in Albany, I learned that people come from different backgrounds and that prepared me the most for military service. Even though we might have different views or beliefs, we have to put that aside to complete the mission,” said Banks. “My grandpa was in the Army during Vietnam. He was really proud when I joined; it was something he always wanted me to do. But it was my stepgrandfather, a Seabee, who was a big influence on me joining the Navy.”
According to Navy officials, submariner 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 sub 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.
“Getting my dolphins is my proudest accomplishment since I joined," said Banks. "It’s a trust thing onboard, if you have your dolphins people trust you with their lives to make the right choices because you know the ship’s capabilities inside and out.”
Challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the crew, Banks said. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
“Serving in the Navy has made me learn to trust people more. It's harder to sleep at night if you don't trust people,” added Banks. “Integrity and trust are the hardest things to earn and the easiest things to lose.”