Bethany native trains to be future U.S. Navy warfighter

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 Ross Merrick, a native of Bethany, is a student at NETC, learning the necessary skills needed to be an electronics technician.

An electronics technician is responsible for trouble shooting and maintaining radar, navigation and communications equipment 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.

Merrick, a 2000 graduate of Brooke High School, credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Bethany.

“More than anything, it’s been learning to adapt to whatever comes my way and humbling myself to what that looks like,” Merrick said. “There’s a human aspect to our personal growth.”

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.

Merrick 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 Merrick, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Merrick is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“Both of my grandfathers and father served in the military and I feel like I’m carrying on their tradition,” Merrick said. “I remember from an early age feeling that legacy and wanting to join as a kid. I decided to pursue it at an older age with a wife and kids and now, I’m thankful to be here.”

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

“There’s a certain amount of sacrifice myself and my family have had to go through but ultimately, I want my kids to understand that nothing truly great can be achieved without great sacrifice,” Merrick said.