A 2010 Vintage High School graduate and American Canyon native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS John Warner, one of the U.S. Navy’s fast-attack submarines.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Rapacon is a machinist’s mate (nuclear) aboard the Norfolk-based submarine, one of only 16 Virginia-class fast-attack submarines in the Navy’s fleet.
A Navy machinist’s mate (nuclear) is responsible for maintaining chemical and radiological control of the submarine.
“Working on a sub, I appreciate everything that goes into making it move,” Rapacon said. “I have the opportunity to work on expanding my knowledge and working with content I’m not used to.”
Rapacon credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in American Canyon.
“My parents taught me the importance of hard work and dedication,” Rapacon said. “This attitude shows I’ve been able to promote faster and my positive work ethic is seen by others.”
With a crew of 130, this submarine is 377 feet long and displaces approximately 7,800 tons. John Warner’s nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at more than 25 mph and to depths greater than 800 feet.
USS John Warner returned from an overseas deployment in July, which included combat operations in April, launching Tomahawk cruise missiles in targeted strikes against Syrian military facilities.
During this maiden deployment, sailors sailed more than 30,000 nautical miles and conducted port visits in Greece, Scotland, Spain and the United Kingdom. The crew also sailed above the Arctic Circle.
“I love working with my division,” said Rapacon. “We feel like one big family.”
Rapacon said he is most proud of receiving his first Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal after deployment.
Submariners are some of the most highly-trained and skilled sailors in the Navy. The training programs are highly technical to ensure each crewmember is able to operate, maintain and repair every system and piece of equipment on the submarine.
“Serving in the Navy has given me more flexibility and drive,” Rapacon added. “My lifestyle has changed for the better during my time in and I believe I’m a part of something bigger than myself.”