Jesse Heard
Photo provided by U.S. Navy

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 (NETC), 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 Jesse Heard, a 2008 graduate of Lord Botetourt High School, is a student at NETC, learning the necessary skills needed to be a fire controlman.
A fire controlman is responsible for managing and operating advanced weapons systems 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.
Heard attributes his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Roanoke.

“I was taught by my father to always give respect, especially to authority,” Heard said. “As going in as someone who is older, there are certain things I can mentally handle that I think is more difficult for some of the younger members.”
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.
Heard 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 Heard, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Heard is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My grandfather was an Army general and growing up, I’ve always heard a lot of stories of him that were really inspiring,” Heard said. “I have a sense of pride serving my country as he did.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Heard 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 gives me opportunities to further my career, travel and better myself because I knew the Navy would instill good characteristics that would make me a better person and man,” Heard said.