‘Adopted Hometown’ Hero Completes Basic Training

by Blake Herzog as submitted by CDR Dave Hecht, Public Affairs Officer, Chief of Naval Personnel

Steve Duhamel, 22, grew up in Northern California but considers Prescott his hometown after attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for four years. 

“Honestly the Dells was that place” which secured that feeling for him, he said, along with the friendly populace he grew to love in “Everybody’s Hometown.” 

The Navy officer candidate’s career arc is bending toward nuclear submarines, but he sees himself returning to Prescott at some point. “It seems to be a good place to be going after the Navy.” 

Duhamel said he had no particular interest in the military until his ERAU roommate suggested the Navy might be a good fit for his interests and talents. This clicked with the mechanical engineering major, who’d also become interested in nuclear power.

“The two sort of collided, and it became the best thing for me to do,” he says. “I decided I didn’t want an engineering job behind a desk, I wanted to be out and be active, doing something for the U.S.”

After graduating from ERAU last spring, he headed to the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., to-be-commissioned officers’ equivalent of basic training for enlisted recruits.  

“Boot camp for OCS focuses more on leadership and business and learning the skills to be able to do well as an officer,” he says. “When you get toward the end of the 13 weeks you begin to mentor and command the squadrons coming up behind you in training.”

After finishing OCS at the end of September, Duhamel headed to Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C., for a year of schooling in the power and maintenance of naval nuclear vessels, primarily aircraft carriers and submarines. 

By fall 2021 he’s expected to serve as a junior officer on a nuclear submarine cruising underwater around the globe. His initial assignment will be handling communications between senior officers and the crew while learning about the inner workings of the ship. 

He thinks he’ll be OK with the uniquely claustrophobic environment he’ll be existing in. 

He admits it’ll be “pretty cramped,” but added, “As part of the application process they took some of us on a tour of the submarine and look around. Some of the people couldn’t wait to get off. It was really a good opportunity, and I saw a great place to work.”

Photo: Steven Duhamel, courtesy of the U.S. Navy