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Aboard the USS Missouri - While many things are changing in the submarine force, the reasons why sailors leave their families, sunlight and the comforts of home for months at a time are the same as they've always been.
Wilfred Dumont said there is nowhere in the world he'd rather be than on the USS Missouri (SSN 780). Dumont, 30, of Massachusetts enjoys the challenge of maintaining the state-of-the-art information systems on board. "Everyone likes playing with the new iPad and that's what I can compare it to," he said.
Lt. Anthony Roa and Lt. j.g. David DiSanto said they serve because they believe the country will be safer with the Missouri at sea. Roa, 27, of Maryland, said he was excited to go out and "do what we've been training to do and what other submarines do all the time."
"The submarine force's mission is really unique," DiSanto, 24, of Pennsylvania added. "To be able to come to work everyday and support its mission is pretty cool."
Others were drawn to the camaraderie that comes with the shared experience of working hundreds of feet below the ocean, where their lives depend on one another.
"It makes it more of a brotherhood. We're like a family out to sea," said Joseph Cefaratti, 31, a first-class machinist's mate from Texas.
Chief Joseph Johns, 34, a logistics specialist, doesn't view his service as a sacrifice at all. Johns met his wife, Maria, through the Navy. His steady paycheck helped them buy a home in Salem. Some of his closest friends are people with whom he has served.
"Everyone talks about sacrifice," he said. "I see it as appreciation for everything the Navy has given me."
- Jennifer McDermott