GREAT LAKES, Ill.
Sailors are some of the most highly-trained people on the planet, according to Navy officials, and this training requires highly-dedicated instructors.
At Naval Education and Training command, instructors at advanced technical schools teach sailors to be highly skilled, operational, and combat ready warfighters, while providing the tools and opportunities for continuous learning and development.
Seaman Apprentice D'equon Ricks, a native of Norfolk, Virginia, is a student at NETC, learning the necessary skills needed to be an operations specialist.
An operations specialist is responsible for maintaining and operating radars onboard Navy warships.
Students attend advanced technical schools after “boot camp.” They are taught the basic technical knowledge and skills required to be successful in their new careers.
Ricks, a 2016 graduate of Maury High School and Virginia State University graduate, credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Norfolk.
“I learned to never give up and stay on top of your game,” Ricks said. “Even through all the struggles you can rise up and come back even stronger than ever before.”
NETC educates and trains those who serve, providing the tools and opportunities which enable life-long learning, professional and personal growth and development, ensuring fleet readiness and mission accomplishment.
NETC is made up of six commands that provide a continuum of professional education and training in support of Surface Navy requirements that prepare enlisted sailors and officers to serve at sea, providing apprentice and specialized skills training to 7,500 sailors a year.
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 a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
Ricks 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.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Ricks, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Ricks is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My grandfather and cousin both served in the Navy and my father was in the Marines,” Ricks said. “My uncle is currently serving in the Navy as a chief petty officer and to serve my country makes me go even harder to carry out what they had started and finish it.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Ricks and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means everything to me,” Ricks said. “I can travel and meet new people in different parts of the world and take care of my family, while performing my duty to fight and protect everyone else’s families as well.”