SANTA RITA, Guam – A 1980 Grayslake Community High School graduate and Grayslake native is providing a critical maintenance capability to the U.S. Navy’s submarine force in the Pacific as part of a hybrid crew of sailors and civilian mariners working aboard the expeditionary submarine tender, USS Frank Cable.
Cmdr. Tony Pecoraro, the executive officer, is submarine engineering and repair aboard the Guam-based submarine tender, one of only two such ships in the U.S. Navy. The Frank Cable and its crew provides maintenance and resupply capabilities both in port and at sea.
“As the executive officer, I consider myself equivalent to a deputy director or that of a city manager,” Pecoraro said. “I lead approximately 750 military and civilian personnel on one of only two submarine tenders that support the maintenance and repair of the Navy’s surface ships and submarines in the Pacific Ocean.”
“Leading and mentoring young sailors in the Navy, I have an opportunity to shape the future of the Navy,” Pecoraro said when describing what he enjoys about his position.
Pecoraro credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Grayslake.
“The unity of a small town is akin to the unity of a large ship; all aspects of the conglomeration, not just one, makes the team great. Just like small towns,” Pecoraro said.
Guam is also home to four Los Angeles-class attack submarines, Frank Cable’s primary clients, but the ship can also provide repair and logistic services to other Navy ships such as cruisers and destroyers.
The submarine tenders provide maintenance, temporary berthing services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.
With a crew of more than 600, Frank Cable is 649 feet long and weighs about 23,493 tons.
According to officials at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the ships, submarines, aircraft and Navy personnel forward-deployed to Guam are part of the world’s largest fleet command and serve in a region critical to U.S. national security.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.
All told, there are more than 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 uniformed and civilian personnel serving in the Pacific.
The integrated crew of sailors and civilian mariners builds a strong fellowship while working alongside each other. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.
“Completing the necessary repairs to keep our surface ships and submarines on mission,” Pecoraro said.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Pecoraro is most proud of his sailors and their successes, either personal achievements or command achievements.
“I am only successful because of my sailors,” Pecoraro said.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Pecoraro and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“When I first joined the Navy, it was just for a job,” Pecoraro said. “It was after I joined, I knew I was contributing to something greater. The ‘tip of the spear’ is not the spear itself, the head of the spear, the shaft, it’s all necessary, all-inclusive, every sailor. Everyone’s job is a part of that spear.”