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Hebron native Chelsea Stratton serves at the largest Naval Communications station in the world

By  Rusty K. Pang
Special to the NKytribune

PEARL HARBOR – Most Americans would agree that communications are a vital part of their lives. The same is true for the U.S. Navy. Instead of using smart phones and tablets, a group of sailors stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, use the most-advanced satellite and telecommunications equipment to share vital information with sailors deployed around the world.

Petty Officer Stratton

Petty Officer 2nd Class Chelsea Stratton, a 2011 Conner High School graduate and native of Hebron, has served in the Navy for six years and is assigned to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific.

As a Navy information systems technician, Stratton is responsible for managing the video teleconferences for high-ranking officials.

Stratton credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Hebron.

“I learned at a young age that I had to take control of my own career, goals and success,” said Stratton. “That has gotten me very far in the Navy.”

NCTAMS Pacific is the center of communications for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. They provide command, control, communications, computers and intelligence connectivity to Naval and Joint forces from San Diego to Singapore and beyond. NCTAMS Pacific is the largest naval communications station in the world, known as the “Pacific Voice of Command.”

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, 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.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.

Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means that Stratton is serving in a part of the world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the 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.”

The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many U.S. allies.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Stratton is most proud of earning Junior Sailor of the Year for 2018 at my command, which meritoriously promoted him to petty officer second class.

“This recognition represents all the hard work I’ve put in, which means a lot to me,” said Stratton.

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

“My aunt is in the Army and my uncle retired from the Army,” said Stratton. “Being an example in the military is an honor because I am passing on inspiration for discipline and opportunity.”

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

“I have a sense of pride to serve because it is honorable and a brave thing to do,” added Stratton. “Not everyone is willing to serve, and I am happy to do it.”

Rusty K. Pang, is a Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class with the Navy Office of Community Outreach

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