GROTON, Conn. — A 2007 Troy High School graduate is currently serving aboard the 15th and newest Virginia-class fast attack submarine in the Navy, USS Colorado (SSN 788), which is scheduled to be commissioned March 17.
Petty Officer 1st Class Derek Lange is a sonar technician (submarine) serving aboard the Groton, Conn. based submarine.
As a sonar technician (submarine), Lange is responsible for operating, controlling, evaluating, and interpreting data from submarine sonar, oceanographic equipment, and submarine auxiliary sonar while coordinating submarine sonar and underwater fire control interface and performing organizational and intermediate maintenance on submarine and allied equipment.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted to serve my country and I could earn money for college,” Lange said. “I also saw the movie ‘The Hunt for the Red October’ and wanted to be like ‘Jonesy.’”
Colorado is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of special operations forces, strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare.
It’s 377 feet long and 34 feet wide and weighs nearly 7,800 tons, powered by a nuclear reactor to push the boat through water at speeds of more than 25 knots while submerged.
“My favorite part about what I do is the problem solving and analyzing the situation and developing solutions, whether it’s fixing equipment or driving the ship safely and stealthily,” Lange said. “My proudest accomplishment everyday is just being able to support my shipmates.”
As the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, the submarine can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities.
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