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GREAT LAKES, Ill.

Home to the Navy’s only boot camp, Naval Station Great Lakes has been turning civilians into U.S. Navy sailors for nearly a century.

The Navy’s largest training facility has trained and sent to the fleet more than two million new sailors through the Recruit Training Command, and nearly an equal number from its technical schools.

Petty Officer 1st Class Brittany Hadley, a native of Norfolk, Virginia, plays an important role at NAVSTA Great Lakes as an operations specialist, supporting the training and mentoring of sailors for the future of the fleet.

An operations specialist is responsible for monitoring radar contacts in the air, surface and subsurface, and identify friends and foes onboard Navy warships.

Hadley, a 2007 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Norfolk.

“I learned the importance of having ambition and wanting to succeed further in life,” Hadley said.

NSGL’s mission is to enable and sustain fleet, family and fighter by providing superior, integrated base operating support for all tenant commands and elements on the installation.

NSGL supports over 50 tenant commands and elements as well as over 20,000 sailors, Marines, soldiers, and DoD civilians who live and work on the installation.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to the coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Hadley plays an important role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Hadley is most proud of earning the rank of petty officer first class.

“It was a goal of mine to achieve this rank before I hit my 12 years in service,” Hadley said.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Hadley, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Hadley is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My grandfather and father both served in the Navy and it makes me proud to follow in my father's footsteps,” Hadley said.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Hadley and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“It makes me proud to serve my country,” Hadley said.

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