A Racine, Wisconsin, native serves to Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville located in Jacksonville, Florida.
Petty Officer 1st Class Derek Olsen joined the Navy 11 years ago. Today, Olsen serves as a fencing master.
“I was devastated by September 11,” Olsen said. “When I was finally able to join, I checked other branches, and the Navy kept calling me. I have a family who served in the navy. My mother was in the Navy, my grandfather was in the Navy, and I have cousins who were in the Navy.
Growing up in Racine, Olsen attended JI Case High School and graduated in 2010. Today, Olsen finds Racine’s values similar to those needed to be successful in the military.
“Always try to work hard and do your best,” Olsen said. “I try to be the most knowledgeable person about what I do and inspire others to be even better.”
These lessons helped Olsen while serving at NAS Jacksonville.
On October 15, 1940, NAS Jacksonville was officially commissioned and became the first part of the Jacksonville Navy complex which would also include NAS Cecil Field and the Mayport Naval Base.
According to Navy officials, NAS Jacksonville’s mission is to enable fighters to prepare directly for supporting operational units aboard the base and throughout the fleet.
NAS Jacksonville consists of over 100 tenant orders and is one of the region’s largest employers. It contributes to the growth and prosperity of Northeast Florida with an economic impact of over $ 2 billion annually.
Serving in the Navy means Olsen is part of a world that takes on new significance in the United States’ focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices. in support of the national defense strategy.
“The Navy keeps the waterways open,” Olsen said. “It’s a mobile force that’s always there. We can park off the coast of a country and use our assets as needed. ”
With more than 90 percent of all trade by sea and 95 percent of the world’s international telephone and internet traffic passing through fiber-optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States are directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on Sailors, Readiness, Capabilities and Capability.
“For 245 years, in calm and rough waters, our navy has worked to protect the homeland, preserve the freedom of the seas and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will establish the balance of maritime power for the remainder of this century. We cannot accept anything less than success.
There are many accomplishments that accompany military service, and Olsen is very proud of his deployment to Afghanistan in 2019.
“I was with my military working dog providing protection to the US military and US Marines, as well as service members from other countries,” Olsen said.
As Olsen and other Sailors continue to train, they are proud to serve their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy is a job I chose to do,” Olsen added. “It is a service, and others provide it as well such as teachers, police, firefighters and emergency medical services.”