On Dec. 27, 2018, Lt. Sharai Elko – Staff Judge Advocate, Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) ELEVEN – earned the Deep Submergence Insignia qualification – a special distinction not often awarded to Navy judge advocates.
As Staff Judge Advocate, Elko provides a wide range of legal support to SUBRON ELEVEN, as well as SUBRON FIVE. Their seven subordinate commands are the sole providers of the U.S. submarine rescue capability, and they operate the only remaining deep submergence vehicles in the Navy. Elko’s says her daily work is both challenging and rewarding.
“Submarine search, escape, and rescue is a critical mission of SUBRON ELEVEN, and I was motivated to complete the DSI qualification so I could also support rescue operations,” Elko remarked.
In order to receive the DSI qualification, Elko had to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of day-to-day deep submergence operations by completing core and squadron-specific knowledge requirements and also successfully participating in at least one rescue exercise.
“Sharai has a unique opportunity to embed herself in the submarine community as part of her assignment to SUBRON ELEVEN,” said Capt. Stacia Gawronski, Force Judge Advocate, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “Sharai routinely goes above and beyond to support her command, and earning this insignia shows just how dedicated she is. I’m very proud of her.”
Elko’s previous SUBRON ELEVEN colleague – Legalman 1st Class Lonnie Williams, another member of the Navy JAG community – also earned the DSI qualification. Williams now works on behalf of the Chief of Naval Operations. “I’m glad I can finally support the Undersea Rescue Command, a SUBRON ELEVEN subordinate unit, watch bill and contribute to submarine search, escape, and rescue efforts,” said Elko.