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Working Hard In The Heartland
by Aren Everett, U.S.Navy Recruiting Command
 March 13, 2020

December 19, 2019 - U.S. Navy Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class John Arend, a recruiter at Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Chicago, found the idea of service is universal even without a local connection to the ocean. (Photo by Aren Everett, U.S. Navy Recruiting Command)It may seem farfetched to be looking for Sailors in the middle of the country, but even without a local connection to the ocean ... Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class John Arendt (left) from Wisconsin found the idea of service is universal.

Prior to reporting for recruiting duty at Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Chicago, he served at Fleet Readiness Center Northwest and has been in the Navy for nine years.

Arendt enlisted in the Navy to gain the discipline the military provides and to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a naval officer. Recently, he received a commission for surface warfare officer and will be attending Officer Candidate School in March.

“I started as an E-2 after having a career in the diesel industry,” said Arendt. “The Navy as a whole has provided me with everything I need.”

Arendt used tuition assistance to complete his bachelor’s degree, and he attributed his success to the support and mentorship of his shipmates.

“I cannot say enough for the team of people around me in the accomplishments I have obtained,” said Arendt. “I truly believe it is a team effort that has made me who I am.”

Arendt has been on recruiting duty for more than three years. During that time, he earned 12 Gold Wreaths, the Heavy Hitter award, Captain’s Cup, and he assisted in making Navy Recruiting Station (NRS) Wausau a competitive small station.

“While in Wausau, Wisconsin, we have no water and possess no ships to visit,” said Arendt. “We bring an idea of service to the individuals we meet. This idea is what we must strongly convey because it is the backbone of why people join.”

Arendt reinforces the idea of service by volunteering in his community.

“I volunteer primarily with the Scouts,” said Arendt. “I believe that the level of discipline and understanding of selflessness is important and the Scouts convey that very well. I also volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Both organizations help their community by giving back and I believe that this message aligns with the Navy.”

Through his volunteering, Arendt is able to demonstrate that even though military service is demanding, the Navy and its Sailors can always be there as both a fighting force and a force for change.

“We drive up to four hours for an evolution, so some school visits and coverage take an entire day,” said Arendt. “Time management is the key up here.”

Despite the long distances and hours, Arendt feels very strongly about his mission.

“These individuals turn from civilians to future Sailors to Sailors,” said Arendt. “These are our replacements. The best part is seeing them ascend to the fleet and watching their progress. I find the reward is mentoring these individuals to achieve their goals while in the Navy.”

The Sailors Arendt mentors aren’t the only ones achieving their goals. Arendt said he has been able to accomplish everything he wanted.

“I started here from day one desiring to be selected for officer and that has happened,” said Arendt. I get to follow the dream I had as a kid and become a Naval Officer.”

Arendt said 2020 has brought his world into focus.

“I started with a vision and have seen that vision through.”

NRS Wausau is part of NRD Chicago, which is assigned 61,945 square miles across Northern Illinois, Northwest Indiana, Eastern Wisconsin and the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It includes 46 recruiting stations divided into nine divisions charged with the mission to provide the Navy Fleet with the proper quantity and quality of Sailors to keep our Navy and our Nation strong.

Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 15 Navy Recruiting Districts and 11 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 815 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

Commander, Navy Recruiting Command | Navy Recruit Training Command | U.S. Navy | U.S. Navy Gifts | U.S. Department of Defense

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