GREAT LAKES, IL – Home to the Navy’s only boot camp, Naval Station Great Lakes has been turning civilians into U.S. Navy sailors for nearly a century. The Navy’s largest training facility has trained and sent to the fleet more than two million new sailors through the Recruit Training Command, and nearly an equal number from its technical schools.
Ross Johnson, a native of Maybrook, New York, plays an important role at NAVSTA Great Lakes as a safety manager, supporting the training and mentoring of sailors for the future of the fleet. A safety manager is responsible for promoting a safe and healthful workforce both on and off duty for all military and civilian personnel onboard Navy installations.
Johnson, a 1978 graduate of Valley Central High School and 2000 Excelsior College graduate, credits success to many of the lessons learned growing up in Maybrook.
“Strong family values were instilled in our family since I was a young boy,” Johnson said. “Just five days after graduating high school, I left the small town of Maybrook and headed to Orlando for Navy boot camp, where my strong hometown principles were tested.”
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.
Johnson 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 Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways earn distinction in a command, community and career, Johnson is most proud of being initiated as a chief petty officer when he served in the Navy.
“I received several awards in my career but I’m most proud of this one because my dad was very proud of me when he pinned my chief anchors on my collar,” Johnson said.
Johnson has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My dad, brother and both sisters all served in the Navy,” Johnson said. “My brother retired two years before me and I re-enlisted to pick up my “star,” to advance to senior chief petty officer, and then I retired after 22 years of service. Serving in the Navy now as a government civilian, allows me as a leader to exemplify the core values and competencies that I have learned and helps me carry on the tradition from the readings of the Chief Petty Officers Creed.”