Fort Washington native trains to be future Navy machinist's mate

U.S. Navy Fireman Ramel Bethea of Fort Washington is training at the Naval Education and Training Command to be a machinist’s mate.

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.

Fireman Ramel Bethea, a native of Fort Washington, Maryland, is a student at Naval Education and Training Command, learning the necessary skills needed to be a machinist’s mate.

A machinist’s mate is responsible for the overall maintenance of boilers, condensers and turbines in engine rooms 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.

Bethea, a 2014 graduate of Friendly High School, credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons he learned growing up in Fort Washington.

“Before joining the Navy, I played a lot of sports and that forced me to work in a team environment,” said Bethea. “This really prepared me to work alongside my fellow shipmates.”

Naval Education and Training Command 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 Naval Education and Training Command 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 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.

Bethea 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.”

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

“I joined the Navy to serve my country and to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Bethea said.

The writer is a lieutenant with the Navy Office of Community Outreach