PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Nine staff members from three of Hawaii's Congressional delegates experienced life as a submariner, while on a distinguished visitor (DV) embark aboard USS Olympia (SSN 717) Aug. 23.
The staffers spent a full day touring the submarine and interacting with crewmembers. Their tour included access to the control room, crew berthings, torpedo room, a view of the surface through a periscope and a ride on the bridge while underway.
Embarking DVs allows the Navy an opportunity to showcase the skills and abilities of its Sailors and assets, while also allowing guests to get a rare glimpse of life at sea.
"They experienced in one day what we get to do every day," said Olympia's Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Tom Flaherty. "They got some insight into our crew, how proficient and professional they are, how young they may look but the incredible aptitude they have and the ability they possess to do their jobs well."
Kamakana Kaumuloa, legislative assistant for Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), couldn't have agreed more.
"It was amazing, seeing all these Sailors together in a small space; on larger ships every one works in their own lane, but here everyone has to work together," Kaumuloa said. "It was great seeing how things operate, and getting a better sense of how submarines actually work."
The tour provided the DVs the opportunity to see and experience how the ship's crew perform functions during underways to support mission readiness.
"I really appreciate the opportunity to show the ship off whenever I can, and the entire crew has a lot of pride in it, it's great to be able to show what we do," said Lt. Eric Regnier, assistant weapons officer on board Olympia. "The entire ship is grateful for the opportunity."
The distinguished visitor embarkation program provides prominent members of the local community the chance to witness first-hand day-to day operations of the U.S. Navy. Embarkation of civilian guests onboard naval ships is appropriate for continuing public awareness of the Navy and its mission.
"I thought it was an amazing experience, I thought we were very lucky to be a part of this," said Jessica VandenBerg, chief of staff for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). "I don't really think you can understand or appreciate what it's like to be on a submarine or what life is like on a submarine unless you come down and experience it yourself."
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