Charlotte native Anthony Franch is now positioned aboard one of the most advanced guided-missile submarines during the height of tensions with Russia after their invasion of Ukraine.
Franch attended South Mecklenburg High School and graduated in 2005. Today, Franch uses skills and values similar to those found in Charlotte to succeed in the Navy as a machinist’s mate.
“One of the biggest things I learned from my hometown is to be respectful,” said Franch. “Everybody has their own story and not everyone was raised the same, understanding that makes getting along with people much easier.”
These lessons have helped Franch while serving with Submarine Readiness Squadron 31.
Known as America’s “Apex Predators!,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically-advanced vessels. These submarines are capable of conducting rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, in furtherance of U.S. national security.
There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines (SSN), ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) and guided-missile submarines (SSGN).
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 referred to as “boomers,” serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSBNs are designed specifically 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 is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.
Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, according to Navy officials. As a member of the submarine force, Franch is part of a rich 122-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.
Serving in the Navy means Franch is part of a team 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.
“The Navy is important to national security because we keep our bases abroad safe and we are also a key player in the nuclear deterrent strategy,” said Franch.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through underwater fiber optic, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
A major component of that maritime security is homeported at Naval Submarine Base Bangor.
Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, and for decades Naval Submarine Base Bangor has been home to Ohio Class ballistic-missile submarines. Beginning in 2028, the new Columbia Class ballistic-missile submarines will arrive and provide continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.
Franch and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“I’m most proud of earning my submarine warfare device,” said Franch. “It’s a sign that you are a part of the brotherhood, that you are part of the crew and that you will have their back if anything happens.”
As Franch and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy has given me a good life,” added Franch. “There are hard times, but it’s also a lot of fun. I have met some of the best people in my life in the Navy.”