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Sonar Technician Continues Family Naval Service
by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner
April 12, 2021

A sonar technician is continuing his family’s military service while serving aboard the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785), homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

Sonar Technician (Submarine) 3rd Class Austin Weisenburg, a native of Mississippi, joined the Navy in 2016 after seeing the opportunities the service had presented his father, and hearing stories from other family members who had served.

U.S. Navy Sonar Technician (Submarine) 3rd Class Austin Weisenburg, assigned to the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785), at the boat’s homeport of Naval Station Norfolk, March 31, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner)
U.S. Navy Sonar Technician (Submarine) 3rd Class Austin Weisenburg, assigned to the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785), at the boat’s homeport of Naval Station Norfolk, March 31, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner)

“My father has been in the Navy for 18 years and is still going as a master chief for the Seabees,” said Weisenburg. “My younger sister is also in the Navy, and my great grandparents on both sides of my family also served.”

Weisenburg explained his family’s service in the Navy was a driving motivator for his own enlistment into the Navy and the Submarine Force.

“Growing up, my great grandfather on my mother’s side would tell me stories of his time in the Navy,” said Weisenburg. “Hearing his stories and seeing the opportunities it brought my father made me interested in joining. Not much is said about the Submarine Force, which made it all the more interesting to me when I did decide to join.”

Once Weisenburg took interest in the Submarine Force, he knew he wanted to be a sonar technician.

“I heard sonar technicians had the chance to handle weapons such as torpedoes and sometimes Tomahawk missiles, and most people don’t get to do that,” said Weisenburg. “I’m glad I chose to be a sonar technician as some of my favorite memories have been made working alongside my shipmates.”

After successful completion of sonar technician ‘A’ school, Weisenburg reported to John Warner in 2017 and worked quickly to integrate with the boat’s crew and to earn his submarine warfare device.

“Reporting aboard John Warner was challenging because the boat deployed only a couple months later,” said Weisenburg. “It took me about six months to earn my warfare device while also working to ensure I was still meeting other qualifications. Being pinned by my captain on the boat’s bridge made all the effort worth it.”

Senior Chief Fire Control Technician Justin Thompson, John Warner’s chief of the boat, spoke highly of Weisenburg and commended him for his work ethic and positive attitude.

“Petty officer Weisenburg comes to work each day ready to support the John Warner team,” said Thompson. “Whether we are in port or at sea, he inspires everyone around him through his incessantly positive attitude and tremendous work ethic. Weisenburg and Sailors like him are the reason I have such high hopes for the future of the Navy’s Submarine Force.”

USS John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class attack submarine and the first ship to bear the name of Senator, John Warner. The submarine was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Connecticut, and commissioned Aug. 1, 2015. The 377-foot ship has a current crew complement of 15 officers and 117 enlisted Sailors and displaces more than 7,800 tons of water.

The mission of the Submarine Force is to execute the Department of the Navy’s mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, the Submarine Force, in particular, is expected to leverage those special advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent and combat effects that the Navy and the nation could not otherwise achieve.

The Submarine Force and supporting organizations constitute the primary undersea arm of the Navy. Submarines and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear.

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