By Rick Burke
Navy Office of Community Outreach
Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Gonzales, a native of Santa Clarita, is one of the sailors continuing a 123-year tradition of service under the sea aboard USS Annapolis, operating out of San Diego.
Gonzales, a 2008 graduate of Canyon High School, joined the Navy 10 years ago.
“I joined the Navy for job security, benefits, to serve my country and to see the world,” said Gonzales.
Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those found in Santa Clarita, according to Gonzales.
“Growing up in a hard-working family, and working many different jobs before the Navy, has taught me the importance of having a strong work ethic,” said Gonzales. “My father taught me ‘the lazy man works twice,’ which has stuck with me. If you’re going to do a job, do it right, or expect to redo it properly.”
Today, Gonzales serves as an information technician responsible for operating and maintaining Navy global satellite telecommunications systems and mainframe computers on board submarines.
“My favorite part about my job is the satisfaction received from finding problems, isolating the cause and using teamwork to find a solution,” said Gonzales.
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. There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines (SSN), ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) and guided-missile submarines (SSGN). The USS Annapolis is a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine.
“The Navy contributes to national defense by being a show of force, all while remaining undetected,” said Gonzales. “We are present all around the world, which helps our allies feel safe and keeps our adversaries in check.”
Gonzales has had many opportunities to achieve during military service.
“I’m most proud of qualifying for my Submarine Warfare insignia,” said Gonzales. “The strict, rigorous process to qualify forced me to push myself in ways I didn’t think was possible. I’m proud to stand with my ‘brothers of the deep.’”
Gonzales added: “Serving in the Navy gives me the opportunity to better myself both personally and professionally, while serving my country, protecting freedom, democracy and the people I love.”