Strathmore native became a Navy Apex Predator working with strategic deterrence

After joining the military for the opportunities of travel and adventure, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Kulbeth went on to work for the Navy’s west coast missiles program

Lt. Cmdr. Brian Kulbeth
U.S. Navy

BANGOR, WASH. – Strathmore native Brian Kulbeth joined the Navy 29 years ago with his wife for the opportunities of travel and adventure. Kulbeth climbed the ranks to lieutenant commander and continues to work onboard Naval Base Kitsap, the homeport to west coast guided and ballistic-missiles. Not bad for a rural Tulare County native.

Naval Base Kitsap is homeport to some of the most capable and advanced submarines produced by the United States. Kulbeth credits his accomplishments to his good work ethic he learned from growing up in Strathmore.

“Serving in the Navy meant the world to me,” Kulbeth said. “It gave me the structure and discipline I needed to make me who I am today. Also, it provided my wife, children and I the opportunity to travel the world and meet folks from all over the United States.”

Kulbeth said he uses skills and values similar to those found in Strathmore to succeed in the Navy. He graduated from Strathmore HIgh School in 1986. Kulbeth said growing up in a small town where everyone took care of everyone instilled a strong work ethic instilled in him. That work ethic helped him when working with Commander, Submarine Group 9 as a civilian contractor.

Serving in the Navy means Kulbeth 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. Kulbeth also works at the homeport to west coast ballistic-missile and guided missile submarines. This homeport at Naval Submarine Base Bangor is a major component of maritime security.

Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy. Especially 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.

Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, according to Navy officials. As a member of the submarine force, Kulbeth is part of a rich 122-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, that are capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.

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, Ballistic-missile submarines and guided-missile submarines.

Fast-attack submarines (SSN) are designed to combine stealth and payload capability to meet Combatant Commanders’ demands in this era of strategic competition. The SSN hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, they 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.

The Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) are often referred to as “boomers,” and 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. The Columbia-class SSBN will replace the current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence starting in 2028 continuing into the 2080s. 

Guided-missile submarines (SSGN) 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. 

Kulbeth and other sailors who serve together have several opportunities to accomplish a variety of things. They continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, “My proudest accomplishment was advancing to the rank of chief petty officer and then commissioning as a Naval Officer through the Limited Duty Officer program,” Kulbeth said.

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