A Fort Wayne, Indiana, native and 1993 South Side High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy with Commander, Task Force 70.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Phillip Mertes is a yeoman serving with Commander, Task Force 70, forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.
A Navy yeoman is responsible for performing clerical and administrative duties for sailors.
Mertes is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of Fort Wayne.
“Living in Japan is quite different from Fort Wayne, but I often think about my friends and family back home,” said Mertes.
Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world, ready at all times, to defend America’s interests. With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
“Being forward deployed is very exciting and it is a lot of hard work, but it is very rewarding, you see the progress that we are making as a nation,” said Mertes.
Mertes is also proud of staying Navy for as long as he has. “I like the feeling I get after putting in a good day of work; I am contributing to the greater good of the United States,” said Mertes.
“You make a difference every day,” said Deputy Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Joey Dodgen. “We are the most prepared, highly trained and the most capable force in the Indo Pacific. Our carriers, amphibious assault ships, aircraft and most importantly, our people, are ready today to face regional challenges and lead our Navy’s forces in this theater, just as the officers and Sailors of 7th Fleet have done for 75 years. So, thank you for all that you do.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Mertes 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 means contributing to a team, it means honoring your country and making the world we live in, a better place,” said Mertes.
Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet’s area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the 7th Fleet.
Article written by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana, Navy Office of Community Outreach
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