A 2014 Flowery Branch High School graduate and Flowery Branch, Georgia, native recently took part in a unique Navy mission at the top of the world aboard one of the world's most advanced nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, USS Hartford (SSN 768).
Navy Seaman Anthony J. Fugatt is an electronic technician (navigation) serving aboard one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines in the U.S. Navy. Hartford is one of two U.S. submarines that participated in the Navy's biennial Ice Exercise (ICEX) above the Arctic Circle. The ICEX is designed to give submarines and opportunity to train and maintain readiness in the unique, ice-covers waters of the Arctic Ocean.
As an electronic technician, Fugatt performs, manages, and supervises preventive and corrective maintenance on electronic equipment; and maintain, repair, calibrate, tune, and adjust electronic equipment utilizing test equipment and technical drawings for Command, Control, Computer, Communication, and Intelligence (C4I) systems, cryptographic systems, radar systems, and navigation systems.
When asked about his favorite part of his job, Fugatt said, "There is no better feeling than to approach a problem with the training I received and know that I can solve the problem."
The Hartford sailors who participated in ICEX transited 7,000 miles through icebergs and frigid water to reach the exercise location in the Beaufort Sea. Navigating Arctic waters is no easy feat because of constant salinity and cold water changes and the ice above makes surfacing a complicated task.
During the five-week ICEX, participants conducted multiple Arctic transits, surfaced near the North Pole, collected scientific data and learned from multiple training evolutions. Sailors practiced key skills and tested new Navy technology, tactics and procedures (TTPs) that will ensure that not only Hartford can operate in the Arctic, but that other submarines and TTP developers in the force learn from their experience and feedback.
During the exercise, Fugatt makes sure the ships completes it's missions so all can return home safely.
Hartford, with a crew of 142 Sailors, is 360-feet long and weighs approximately 6,900 tons. A nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at nearly 30 mph.
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.
Submariners 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.
Fugatt has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
"My grandfather retired from the Army as a master sergeant, said Fugatt. "He has played a huge role in my life as the person I look up to."
When asked why he joined the military, Fugatt said, "I joined the Navy to serve my country and then go to school to teach musical theater."
In Fugatt's spare time he enjoys theater, games and cooking.