A 2017 Pennsbury High School graduate and Yardley 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.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Paxton Winokur is a machinist’s mate 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.
A Navy machinist’s mate is responsible for operating, repairing and maintaining machinery on the ship.
Paxton credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Yardley.
“My dad was also in the Navy, so I am following in his footsteps,” said Paxton. “I was able to see how he made something of himself and supported his family. He was able to have a career and now he’s retired.”
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 like 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 approximately 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.
“At the beginning of a mission you have this huge list of tasks and it seems overwhelming,” Paxton said. “But as you go through the weeks you see the list go down and then the subs are ready to go out on their mission.
It’s very satisfying.”
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans.
More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80% of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90% of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Paxton is most proud of advancing quickly in his career.
“I was able to advance quickly because I have been successful in the training pipeline,” he said. “It gives me a chance to take on more responsibility and be more involved with all the jobs going on with the submarine.”
PHOTO CAP: Paxton Winokur. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Heidi Cheek.