Former Petty Officer 2nd Class Stefan Hart, a native of Snellville, Georgia, joined the Navy to follow friends into the military.
“I also had dreams of traveling,” said Hart. “I was able to see the world while I served in the Navy.”
Hart is currently stationed as a Navy contractor with the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) San Diego, which trains sailors in the operation and maintenance of shipboard weapons and sensors.
“The training we implement at Det San Diego is an example of how Ready, Relevant Learning is shaping a more capable and lethal force,” explained Capt. Dave Stoner, CSCS commanding officer. “Through innovative solutions, such as our Combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Anti-Submarine Warfare Trainer, known as CIAT and our newest, mobile combat simulator, the On Demand Trainer, we are moving away from the traditional instructor-led training at the podium and creating an immersive learning environment facilitated by an instructor that improves individual performance and in turn, shaping confident and competent sailors who know how to fight and win. To be victorious in our next fight, sailors must know how to extract every bit of warfighting capability resident in our ships.”
Hart, a 2008 graduate of South Gwinnett High School is a senior trainer engineer at the center located in San Diego.
“I’m responsible for all the training equipment and server room with about 100 computers,” said Hart. “We use this equipment to train the students how to safely drive U.S. Navy ships. I like how real our simulators are and how accurately it depicts an actual shipboard environment.”
According to Hart, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Snellville.
“It’s important to be respectful,” said Hart. “Respect is earned, and you also have to give to others. Be sociable, be approachable and communicate. These are great lessons that helped me when I was in the Navy.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
CSCS is a global organization of professional military and civilian educators and support personnel focused on training the Surface Navy to fight and win. CSCS trains over 36,000 U.S. and allied sailors a year to operate, maintain and employ weapons, sensors, communications, combat systems and deck equipment of surface warships to build Combat Ready Ships with Battle Minded Crews.
CSCS provides more than 538 courses, awards 114 different Navy Enlisted Classifications (NECs), and trains more 38,000 sailors a year. The command’s mission is to develop and deliver combat systems training to achieve surface warfare superiority.
According to Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, the focus of today’s Navy is squarely on warfighting, warfighters and the capabilities needed for the Navy of the future.
“I am confident we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” said Gilday. “And we will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”
There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers. Hart is most proud of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals he earned while on active duty.
“I earned them mostly for fixing equipment and computers that ran our radars and weapon systems while serving aboard USS Pinckney from 2010 to 2014,” said Hart.
For Hart, serving in the Navy is a tradition passed down from generations and one Hart hopes to continue.
“I have an uncle and a cousin in the Army,” said Hart. “I feel like I’m continuing a military tradition of service, and I like that I can continue my service as a Navy contractor after I successfully completed my active-duty Navy service.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Hart, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“The Navy built my integrity and grew my character,” said Hart. “We’re all about honor, courage and commitment.”