Petty Officer 1st Class David Varisco, Jr., is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the country’s most versatile combat ships. The 1998 Acadiana High School graduate is also the son of David Varisco, the drummer for legendary band Atchafalaya and the current band Lafayette's Bayou Boys.

Those of you who listen to the birthday list with Bruce and Jude at about 8:05 in the mornings on The Dawg know the "Happy Birthday" song. That song was written by Chris Foreman with the Bayou Boys. Lee Benoit performs vocals, and Lafayette's Bayou Boys provide the accompaniment!

I guess that makes Officer Varisco a nephew! And we couldn't be more proud.

Below is an official release from the United States Navy explaining exactly what he does aboard a very specialized vessel in the naval fleet. I encourage you to take the time to read it. It's very impressive!

God bless our military that serve and protect the greatest country in the world!

FROM THE U.S. NAVY

By Petty Officer Jamal McNeill, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

(SAN DIEGO) – A 1998 Acadiana High School graduate and Lafayette, Louisiana, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the country’s most versatile combat ships.

Petty Officer 1st Class David Varisco, Jr. is a sonar technician (geographic) and a member of Anti-submarine Warfare Detachment 1, the “Bloodhounds," serving aboard littoral combat ships based in San Diego, California.

As a sonar technician, Varisco is responsible for using sonar technology to locate, track and prosecute submarine contacts.

“What I enjoy most is the practical application of my job,” said Varisco. “When everything is going well, we are working hard and having fun; it’s like a real world video game.”

The ship’s technological benefits allow for swapping mission packages quickly, meaning Sailors can support multiple missions, such as surface warfare, mine warfare, or anti-submarine warfare.

Varisco is part of a 53-person crew, one of several crews that rotate between littoral combat ships, as part of a unique crewing concept called “3-2-1,” where three crews serve aboard two different littoral combat ships, one of which is deployed.  This innovative manning concept allows the LCS to spend more time forward deployed without overtaxing the crew, according to Navy officials.

“What I like about this ship platform is the futuristic aspect of it,” said Varisco. “I enjoy the fact that I serve on a state of the art, next level war fighting machine.”

Designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft, littoral combat ships are a bold departure from traditional Navy shipbuilding programs. The LCS sustainment strategy was developed to take into account the unique design and manning of LCS and its associated mission modules.

According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is a long one.  Following an 18-month training pipeline, sailors have to qualify on a simulator that is nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training pipeline allows sailors to execute their roles and responsibilities immediately upon stepping onboard.

"USS Jackson's ability to arrive in its homeport of San Diego – essentially two months ahead of schedule - following execution of Full Ship Shock Trails (FSST) and completion of post FSST maintenance and repairs is not only a testament to the entire crew, but more importantly, it is a testament to the true sustainability and capability of the amazing warship,” said commanding officer, Cmdr. Troy Fendrick.

As a crew member aboard one of the Navy’s newest ships, Varisco explained they are building a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes. Crew members know how important it is for the Navy to develop new war fighting capabilities to continue their success on the world’s oceans.

"The Navy has helped me mature, to be more responsible, reliable and confident in both my professional and personal life,” said Varisco.

Through innovative planning, the design of systems, and crew requirements, the LCS platform allows the fleet to increase forward presence and optimize its personnel, improving the ability of the Navy to be where it matters, when it matters.