Stephen McCully

Stephen McCully, of Bourbonnais, joined the U.S. Navy for a challenge.

Now, he deals with the inner electrical workings of one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines, the USS Nebraska.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen McCully serves our country as an electrician’s mate, nuclear technician.

“I wanted to serve my country, and I wanted to challenge myself,” McCully said.

McCully attended Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School and graduated in 2015. Today, McCully uses skills and values similar to those he learned while living in Bourbonnais.

“I learned about having discipline and having a good work ethic and a desire to help other people,” McCully said. All are skills he uses daily.

Known as America’s “Silent Service,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically advanced vessels. These submarines are capable of conducting rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, in furtherance of U.S. national security.

“I’m most proud of being promoted to second class petty officer as a nuclear technician,” McCully said. “It’s particularly difficult to do. You have to be pretty good at your job. That and getting my ‘fish’ and getting qualified in submarines are some career highlights.”

“Fish” is a nickname for a type of certification sailors earn when they qualify on submarines.

As a member of the submarine force, McCully is part of a rich, 121-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.

There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines (SSN), ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) and guided-missile submarines (SSGN).

Fast-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; conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare.

The Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines, often referred to as “boomers,” serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSBNs are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles.

Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.

Serving in the Navy means McCully is part of a team 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.

“The Navy contributes to our national security,” McCully said. “It provides freedom and democracy throughout the world. It keeps the oceans safe and provides a lot of humanitarian assistance operations.”

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through underwater fiber optic, Navy officials continue to emphasize the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, and for decades, Naval Submarine Base Bangor has been home to Ohio Class ballistic-missile submarines. Beginning in 2028, the new Columbia Class ballistic-missile submarines will arrive and provide continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.

As McCully and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions to support national defense, they take pride in serving our country in the U.S. Navy.

“It means supporting my country and providing freedom and democracy around the world and honoring those who come before me,” McCully said.