Boca Grande native credits growing up on island for her career success

August 9, 2018
By Marcy Shortuse

A 2002 Lemon Bay High School graduate and Boca Grande, Florida, native is presently engaged in a critical mission for the security of the United States: deterring nuclear war.
Lt. Cmdr. Kathy Paradis, a staff judge advocate, is supporting the world’s most advanced ballistic missile submarines as part of Submarine Group Nine. Based at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington, not far from Seattle, Submarine Group Nine oversee eight of the 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines in the Navy’s fleet.
As a staff judge advocate, Paradis is responsible for being the principal legal adviser to the commander of Sub Group Nine, advising a number of legal and ethical concerns to the command.
“I like the diversity of my job,” Paradis said. “Every day is different, and I enjoy the challenge of that.”
Paradis draws from lessons learned growing up in Boca Grande.
“I learned to keep an open mind about things growing up,” Paradis said. “People come from all sorts of different backgrounds, and that helps me understand how to give different advice to different people.”
The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, often referred to informally as “boomers,” serve as undetectable launch platforms for intercontinental ballistic missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles, and they are the only survivable leg of the nation’s strategic nuclear forces, which also include land-based missiles and aircraft.
As long as nuclear weapons remain in the hands of potential adversaries, the nation’s nuclear forces provide a safe, secure and credible deterrent to the threat of nuclear attack. The Navy’s continuous at-sea deployment of submarines provides the ability to mount an assured response.
As effective as the Ohio-class submarines have been over their decades-long lifetimes, the fleet is aging, with the oldest submarines now more than 30 years old, well past their planned service lives.
A new and effective successor is critical to national security, and the Navy is well into the process of designing and fielding a more advanced ballistic missile submarine, which will provide the necessary sea-based nuclear deterrence into the 2080s and beyond.
Submarine sailors are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical, and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the submarine works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniforms.
“The men and women from across our nation who volunteer for military service embody the fundamental values of honor, courage and sacrifice that are the bedrock of our republic,” said Rear Adm. Blake Converse, Commander, Submarine Group Nine. “They protect and defend America from above, below, and across the world’s oceans. The entire nation should be extremely proud of the hard work that these sailors do every single day to support the critical mission of the Navy and the submarine force.”
“Knowing that the submarine community has a clear impact on the nation’s defense strategy is a rewarding feeling for me,” Paradis said. “It gives a sense of purpose for what we do, and knowing that I play a part in ensuring those sailors are ready is a great thing.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Paradis and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy offers me the ability to honor my country, and the freedoms it provides,” Paradis said. “I get to uphold our way of life, while at the same time having an exciting career as an attorney.”