A Toms River, New Jersey, native is training sailors to continue a 123-year tradition of service under the sea.

As an instructor at Navy Submarine School, Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Cruz is teaching sailors the skills needed to operate aboard submarines so they can successfully complete missions around the world.

I joined the Navy because I wanted to learn how to scuba dive,” said Cruz. “My uncle also influenced my decision. He was a submariner in Vietnam.

US Navy
US Navy

Growing up in Toms River, Cruz attended Toms River High School North and graduated in 2006.

I learned in Toms River how to have a good work ethic,” said Cruz. “I joined the Navy a little later in life. After high school, I went straight to work and that really helped me develop a good work ethic. Having a good work ethic keeps me focused and moving forward.

“Our presence is important to national defense,” said Cruz. “Submarines are the number one deterrent for our enemies.”

Oleksii Liskonih
Oleksii Liskonih

Our mission remains timeless - to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level," said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. "This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.

From the Navy:

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.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

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