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Long Island Native Serves in Navy Hunting Mines in the Pacific

Photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Alex Diaz

Article submitted by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Wyscaver, Navy Office of Community Outreach


A 2014 Sachem North High School graduate and Long Island, NewYork, native is serving aboard an Avenger mine countermeasure ship designed to clear mines from vital waterways across the globe.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Nunziata is a Navy mineman serving aboard USS Champion under the command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

As a Navy mineman, Nunziata is responsible for conducting shipboard maintenance as well as search and rescue swimmer duties.

“I enjoy that it’s a close-knit community here on the Champion,” said Nunziata.

Nunziata credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Long Island.

“My dad always taught me to be respectful,” said Nunziata. “That certainly translates well here in the Navy.”

Mine countermeasure ships are designed as mine sweepers/hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. These ships use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control.

Hunting mines is a slow, laborious task that requires a ship to stay in one small area until it’s done, according to Navy reports. Since 1945, mines have sunk almost four times more US ships than all other threats combined, said Navy officials.

The worldwide threat, which today totals more than a million weapons of some 300 different types, from rudimentary but still-dangerous World War I-era contact mines to highly sophisticated, multiple-influence and programmable weapons, reports the Navy. These figures are for sea mines, proper; they do not include underwater-improvised explosive devices that can be fashioned from fuel bladders, 50-gallon drums, and even discarded refrigerators.

The ships use remotely operated mine disposal system and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) mine neutralization system. The disposal system detects, locates, classifies and neutralizes moored mines and mines resting on the seabed. The vehicle uses high-frequency, high-resolution sonar, low light level television, cable cutters and explosive charges to detect and dispose of mines, while remaining tethered to the vessel by a cable and under control of the vessel. Each ship accommodates a crew of 80.

“Everyone has been really welcoming and supportive since I’ve been aboard this ship,” said Nunziata.

As part of the Navy, Nunziata explained that sailors are helping to build a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, including helping to develop new war-fighting capabilities to continue the Navy’s success on the world’s oceans.

“The Navy has taught me a lot and has helped me grow both personally and professionally,” said Nunziata.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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