SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- A retired submariner and his grandchildren toured one of Guam's four homeported submarines during a visit from Canyon Lake, Texas, July 22.
Sylvan Dejardo and his five grandchildren, who range from age 13 to age 20, came to Guam to visit with his wife's family.
"I was stationed on Guam from 1973 to 1977 at the Naval Communication Station and met my wife, who is a native to Guam," said Dejardo. "I loved the island and wanted my grandchildren to experience the island their grandmother and I miss very much [when stateside]."
Dejardo wanted to ensure his grandchildren were able to experience their Chamorro heritage by visiting their grandmother's native island. While on Guam, he took them on a tour of Topeka to give them a glimpse into his life in the Navy.
"This was my first time on a submarine," said Brittany Dejardo. "It was really cool to see a different part of my grandfather's life."
Dejardo retired from the U.S. Navy after 24 years. He served the first 14 years of his naval career in the enlisted ranks, advancing to Master Chief Radioman before commissioning as a Limited Duty Officer. He served as the communication officer on George Washington-class fleet ballistic missile submarine USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN 601) from 1980 to 1984 when they conducted ballistic missile patrols out of Guam. Dejardo also served at the service school command, as assistant director of radioman "A" school, communication officer aboard Emory S. Land-class submarine tender USS McKee (AS 41), assistant communication officer for Commander, Submarine Group 5 and communications officer and project officer for Commander, Submarine Development Group 1 detachment Bravo.
"Being at sea on the submarine was my favorite part of being in the Navy," said Dejardo, who hopes his grandchildren consider joining the military. "It's a great experience that builds character and offers stability for career opportunities where they can learn a lifetime trade."
Topeka's commanding officer, Cmdr. Steven Tarr III, led the tour group. They began in the crew's mess then moved through the torpedo room, machinery room, control center and topside. Tarr also took them into one of the crew berthing areas and showed them his stateroom.
"It was an honor to host Mr. Dejardo and his grandchildren onboard for a tour," said Tarr. "They asked a lot of great questions about life onboard as well as the capabilities of Topeka. Although the technology onboard has changed since Mr. Dejardo was on active duty, the human dynamic has not; people are and continue to be the most important asset in the Navy. Maybe one of Mr. Dejardo's grandchildren will consider a career in the naval service in the defense of our nation."
Dejardo hopes his grandchildren will contemplate joining the military for the benefits that come with being a service member and retiring in the military.
"My advice to any Sailor who is in now is to stay in the military," said Dejardo. "The lifetime benefits and financial stability are invaluable, and being a member of the submarine force is one of the most incredible experiences you will ever have."
COMSUBRON 15 is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.
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Are you interested in taking orders to Guam? Want to learn more about the duty station and life on our island? For more information, check out the 'Go Guam!' website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/go-guam/ and download the '1st Fifteen' checklist.
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