Brevard Native Sampson Terpening Supports the Navy’s ‘Silent Service’ Half a World Away

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SERVING ON USS Emory S. Land

Seaman Sampson Terpening is an electrician’s mate serving aboard the Guam-based submarine tender, one of two submarine tenders in the U.S. Navy, conducting coordinated tended moorings and afloat maintenance in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean. (U.S. Navy image)

SANTA RITA, GUAM – A 2015 Brevard Christian High School graduate and Brevard County, Florida, native is aiding the U.S. Navy’s silent service submarine community as part of an integrated crew of Sailors and Civilian Mariners working aboard the expeditionary submarine tender, USS Emory S. Land.

Seaman Sampson Terpening is an electrician’s mate serving aboard the Guam-based submarine tender, one of two submarine tenders in the U.S. Navy, conducting coordinated tended moorings and afloat maintenance in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.

A Navy electrician’s mate is responsible for the electrical systems on the ship.

“I have experience working in the electrical field in the docks before joining the Navy,” Terpening said. “So the Navy has given me an opportunity to use my skills. The ship is different because it is always ‘on’, so it makes the risks and challenges a lot greater.”

With a crew of 76 officers and 1,270 enlisted, submarine tenders are 649 feet long and weigh approximately 23,493 tons. Their mission is to provide maintenance, repairs, lodging accommodations and logistics support to deployed guided-missile and fast-attack submarines.

Submarine tenders are additionally capable of providing repair and logistic services to deployed surface ships.

USS Emory S. Land is a United States Navy submarine tender and the lead ship of her class. She was named for Admiral Emory S. Land. The ship provides food, electricity, water, consumables, spare parts, medical, dental, disbursing, mail, legal services, ordnance, and any parts or equipment repair that a submarine may require. To accomplish this, the ship has a physical plant similar to that of a small town, including 53 different specialized shops. (U.S. Navy image)

“I am impressed every day by the caliber of the Sailors who serve aboard our ship,” said Capt. Douglas Bradley, commanding officer, USS Emory S. Land.

“Our hardworking crew completes an immense amount of work daily aboard this ship. The multitude of different skills and responsibilities is remarkable: submarine and surface ship repair, weapons handling, supply, medical, dental, and more. I am extremely honored to lead and serve this immensely talented and dedicated crew.”

“The ship’s environment is very good and I have made so many friends here,” said Terpening. “I enjoy the camaraderie and culture on the ship. Everywhere I go on the ship, I run into someone I know.”

The integrated crew of Sailors and civilian mariners build a strong fellowship while working alongside each other, Terpening explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

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“I believe that people should serve for what they believe in,” Terpening said. “The Navy was the right option for me at the time and provided me an opportunity to travel and go to college.”

Terpening added that military service is a family tradition.

“I have a lot of family that served in the military,” Terpening said. “My grandfather was a colonel in the Air Force for 25 years. My uncles and grandfathers all served. It gives me a sense of connection with them because we have this shared experience.”

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