By Lt. Kat Smith, 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.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Johnston, a native of Harker Heights, Texas, is an instructor at NETC, providing the fleet with sailors who possess the basic technical knowledge and skills necessary for naval service.

“I teach new sailors in the Navy how to transition into the fleet and perform their job,” said Johnston.

Johnston, a 2007 graduate of Harker Heights High School, credits her success in the Navy to many of the lessons she learned growing up in Harker Heights.

“I'm an Army brat so everything I do is exactly what my dad did growing up, just with a different service,” Johnston said. “I use the same methods he did with my sailors.”

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.

Six commands provide a continuum of professional education and training at NETC in support of Surface Navy requirements preparing enlisted sailors and officers to serve at sea, and 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 America is a maritime nation, and 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.

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

“My dad was in the Army and told me to go into a better service,” Johnston said. “He said the Navy would be a better quality of life for me and I saw how the military provided for our family, and I think it could do the same for mine.”

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

“The Navy gives me every opportunity I could ask for to give to my daughter,” Johnston said. “When we're out at sea and people say ‘thank you’ for your service, you know the sacrifice isn't in vain. To come back and see the freedoms that people have and know that I had a piece in that, is a great feeling. This is why I serve and why we do what we do.”