Indian Head Native Trains to be a U.S. Navy Future Warfighter

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jerry Jimenez, Navy Office of Community Outreach

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 Tristan Chotkowski, a native of Indian Head, Maryland, is a student at NETC, learning the necessary skills needed to be an operations specialist. 

An operations specialist is responsible for the safe navigation of Navy warships and alerts the crew of incoming missiles or other vessels in their way.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne

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. 

Chotkowski, a 2016 graduate of Henry E. Lackey High School, credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Indian Head.

“I learned a lot from my hometown,” Chotkowski said. “I grew up near Indian Head Naval Base and I learned to respect the uniform, respect the officers, listen to those above you and always hold yourself with pride, no matter what you do.”

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 the coast, and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Chotkowski plays an important role 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.” 

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

“My dad served for 20 years in the Marines and my brother currently serves in the Navy,” Chotkowski said. “I have a sense of pride carrying the family torch serving our country.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Chotkowski 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 doing your best to serve the world’s greatest Navy and protecting the people back home,” Chotkowski said. “We’re protecting the nation that has given so much to us, and it’s about loving your country enough to give your life to it.”

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