Paso Robles native serves aboard the USS Texas
May 13, 2014
By Navy Lt. Ana Maring,
A 2010 Paso Robles High School graduate and Paso Robles native is serving aboard a U.S. Navy attack submarine, the USS Texas (SSN 775).
Petty Officer 2nd Class Ruben Chechik is a machinist mate aboard the Hawaii-based boat, a Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, and the first submarine to be named after the Lone Star State.
Measuring 377 feet long, 33 feet wide, weighing 9,000 tons when submerged and with a complement of more than 130 sailors, USS Texas is one of the Navy’s newest and most technologically sophisticated submarines.
Attack submarines are designed to pursue and attack enemy submarines and surface ships using torpedoes. They also carry cruise missiles with conventional high-explosive warheads to attack enemy shore facilities, conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, mine laying and support special operations.
As a young sailor who needed money for school, Chechik said he joined the Navy with his cousin.
“Travel is big for me now. I had never been outside of California before joining the Navy,” Chechik said. “I am working hard and looking forward to getting out to sea.”
Texas, along with all other U.S. Navy submarines, is manned solely by volunteers from within the Navy. Because of the stressful environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy.
Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a submarine, challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the crew. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills where sailors learn to rely on others, and learn they must be relied upon themselves.
Chechik said he is very proud of the work he is doing as part of the Texas’ 130-member crew, protecting America on the world’s oceans. Imagine working and living in a 377-foot long, 33-foot wide, three-story building with no windows and surrounded by technology. Then lock the doors, submerge beneath the surface of the ocean and travel silently underwater for months.
“I’m very proud of all USS Texas Sailors and equally impressed with the type and quality of work that goes aboard this submarine each day,” said Cmdr. Andrew C. Hertel, Texas’ commanding officer. “Our team is filled with highly qualified young adults, reliable, flexible, and ready to respond worldwide at any time. Their work ethic, enthusiasm, and esprit de corps are second to none and they are the backbone of the Navy’s undersea warfighting capability. With crew members like Chechik as part of our team, everybody knows you ‘Don’t Mess with Texas.’ “
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Chechik and other USS Texas Sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“The Navy teaches you a lot about working together and about good work ethics. The people you work with could be from Texas or another country and you have to work together,” Chechik said. “The Texas is awesome. It’s like a family, not just my boat or a job.”