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The Thin Line Spotlight

The Thin Line Spotlight: Petty Officer 3rd Class Trey Penley

Westfield native serves as a member of U.S. Navy’s “Silent Service”

Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Lt. Cmdr. Jake Joy, Navy Office of Community Outreach

A Westfield, Indiana, native is serving aboard USS Nevada, one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Trey Penley serves as a sonar technician and joined the Navy to find a purpose for his life.

“I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted to do but wasn’t sure exactly what path I wanted to take,” said Penley.

Penley attended Westfield High School and graduated in 2016. Today, Penley uses skills and values similar to those found in Westfield.

“I learned how to work hard,” said Penley. “I lived in the middle of the country. We raised chickens and pigs, so I learned how to get things done.”

These lessons have helped Penley while serving aboard USS Nevada.

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.

The Thin Line Spotlight

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. As a member of the submarine force, Penley 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.

Serving in the Navy means Penley 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 is very important because of the nuclear deterrence we provide,” said Penley. “We help keep other countries in line.”

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 that 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.

Penley and other sailors have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service. Guidry is most proud of earning his submarine warfare qualification.

“It’s important to continue furthering my qualifications,” said Penley.

As Penley and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions to support national defense, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy is a lot of commitment, so you have to be devoted,” added Penley. “It’s not an easy job.”


The Thin Line Spotlight is sponsored by Kahlo.

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