Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne

Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Paschke, a native of Lafayette

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, this obligation falls upon hard-charging, Navy professionals who trains and mentors the Navy’s future warfighters.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Paschke, a native of Lafayette, Indiana, plays an important role at NETC, supporting these sailors as a fire controlman.

A fire controlman is responsible for the operation and maintenance of both radar and weapon systems onboard Navy warships.

Paschke, a 2008 graduate of William Henry Harrison High School, credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Lafayette.

“I learned that hard work pays off and if you always do your best, the sky is the limit,” Paschke said.

NETC educates and trains those who serve our nation, taking them from street-to-fleet by transforming civilians into highly skilled, operational, and combat ready warfighters, while providing the tools and opportunities for continuous learning and development.

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.

Paschke plays a crucial 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.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Paschke is most proud of receiving a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

“This award marks the accomplishment of my shipmates and myself working together as a team to accomplish our goals,” Paschke said.

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

“My grandfather served in the Navy during WWII and it makes me feel more connected to him, and my in-laws also served in the Navy which helped me become closer to them,” Paschke said.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Paschke 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 having the opportunity to serve my country and protect the freedoms of both my country and my family,” Paschke said.