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Middleburg’s Dionysius continues 123-year tradition of service under the sea

By Cmdr. Anthony Falvo Navy Office of Community Outreach
Posted 6/15/23

KINGS BAY, Ga. – Submariners make up only 10% of the U.S. Navy’s personnel, but they play a critical role in carrying out one of the Defense Department’s most important missions: strategic …

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Middleburg’s Dionysius continues 123-year tradition of service under the sea


KINGS BAY, Ga. – Submariners make up only 10% of the U.S. Navy’s personnel, but they play a critical role in carrying out one of the Defense Department’s most important missions: strategic deterrence.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Samantha Dionysius, of Middleburg is one of the sailors continuing a 123-year tradition of service under the sea to help ensure Americans’ safety.

Dionysius joined the Navy four years ago and today serves as a machinist’s mate nuclear aboard USS Florida.

“I first joined after seeing my three sisters serve in the Navy,” said Dionysius. “They all joined before me, and I was the last to join. I wanted to travel and follow the example they set.”

Growing up in Middleburg, Dionysius attended Ridgeview High and graduated in 2018.

For Dionysius, the skills and values she saw in her sisters are similar to those required to succeed in the military.

“My sisters have always been a good example,” said Dionysius. “They taught me independence and that I should always be striving for excellence. I also saw how they stood up for themselves. They are all out of the Navy now, but they’re super supportive of me.”

These lessons have helped Dionysius while serving in the Navy.

Known as America’s “Apex Predators!,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically-advanced vessels. These submarines can conduct rapid defensive and offensive operations worldwide in furtherance of U.S. national security.

There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines, ballistic-missile submarines and guided-missile submarines.

Fast-attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. The Virginia-class SSN is the most advanced submarine in the world today. It combines stealth and payload capability to meet Combatant Commanders’ demands in this era of strategic competition.

The Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines, often called “boomers,” serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSBNs are explicitly designed for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles. The Columbia-class SSBN will be the largest, most capable, and most advanced submarine produced by the U.S. - replacing the current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.

Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.

“Our mission remains timeless - to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”

According to Navy officials, strategic deterrence is the Nation’s ultimate insurance program. As a member of the submarine force, Dionysius is part of a rich history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in defense of America and its allies.

Serving in the Navy means Dionysius is part of a team taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy is our strongest asset in protecting America,” said Dionysius. “It allows us to have a presence everywhere in the world and it’s amazing to be a part of it. It also makes me happy to be able to protect my family. I have nieces and nephews and I hope they all join the Navy someday.”

With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

Dionysius and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“My biggest accomplishment has been completing nuclear school and scuba dive school,” said Dionysius. “They’re hard programs, challenging both mentally and physically, but there’s so much history in each of these programs. I’m just so proud to be a part of it.”

As Dionysius and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.

“I feel a sense of pride that I’m protecting my family and helping to defend the country,” said Dionysius. “I feel like I’m really doing my part to protect my country.”

Dionysius is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I’m definitely grateful to my sisters, Gabrielle, Danielle and Abigail,” added Dionysius. “They have always lifted me up and motivated me to push myself and be adventurous. They’ve taught me many good life lessons. I would not be able to be this courageous without their love and support. They’ve made me feel like anything is possible.”

Spurger offered some insight to those who may be thinking about making a career in the Navy.

“I would tell anyone thinking of joining the Navy to definitely do it,” added Dionysius. “I would also tell them to keep their priorities and mindset on what’s important to them. To keep their goals, always think about improving and always have high expectations for yourself.”