Lieutenant Gary Beier, a native of Arnold, always dreamed of graduating from the United States Naval Academy.
Now, seven years later and half a world away, Beier serves with Submarine Group 7, supporting U.S. Navy submarines patrolling one of the world’s busiest maritime regions as part of the leading edge of U.S. 7th Fleet.
“I grew up so close to the Naval Academy, so I was always surrounded by pride and support for the Navy and Marines,” Beier said. “I’ve always dreamed about graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, which I did in 2012, but since then, the Navy has kept me far away from my hometown.”
Beier is a submarine officer with the Yokosuka, Japan-based command, forward-deployed as part of Submarine Force Pacific. “I plan, coordinate, and support U.S. and allied submarine operations in the Indo-Pacific region,” Beier said.
He credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Arnold. “Both of my grandfathers were in the Navy, but I’m not sure if that influenced me to join or not,” Beier said. “Regardless, my family was very supportive and proud of me when I accepted an appointment to USNA and when I commissioned into the Navy.”
U.S. 7th Fleet spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south. The fleet’s area of operations encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50% of the world’s population with 50 to 70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft and approximately 20,000 sailors.
With more than 50% of the world's shipping tonnage and one-third of the world's crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy's presence in Yokosuka is part of that longstanding commitment.
“The Navy is forward-deployed to provide security and strengthen relationships in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet. “It's not just the ships and aircraft that have shown up to prevent conflict and promote peace. It is and will continue to be our people who define the role our Navy plays around the world — people who've made a choice, and have the will and strength of character to make a difference.”
Submarine Group 7 is comprised of submarines deployed to the Western Pacific and a permanent, forward-deployed fleet including the submarine tenders USS Frank Cable and USS Emory S. Land and four fast-attack nuclear submarines.
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; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.
Serving in the Navy means Beier is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
There are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career. Beier is most proud of receiving his submarine warfare qualification.
“Receiving my ‘dolphins’ when I was finishing up qualifications as a submarine officer and passing my nuclear engineering officer exam were my proudest moments,” Beier said. “Both required 100% of my focus and effort and were the culmination of years of training and preparation.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Beier and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“I serve in the Navy because it means I’m at the forefront of promoting America’s ideals and strengths on a global scale, and pushing back against those nations which would like to see America’s position on the world stage weakened,” Beier said.