VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –
“Honor is an active choice in the desire to create greater success on a new plane. The journey to this will never be easy and will never end, thus we must evaluate ourselves and cultivate that desire to go forth with conviction.”
These are the words from Navy Electronics Technician for the Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Division at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division Brandon Harris. Harris was selected as the keynote speaker for the 2022 Naval Sea Systems Command Warfare Centers Veterans Day Observance on Nov. 3 hosted at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Dam Neck Activity (NSWCDD DNA).
The theme of this year’s observance was honor and the event kicked off with an introduction from NSWCDD DNA Commanding Officer Cmdr. Christina Carino.
“Honor was one of the founding principles of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps over 200 years ago,” Carino stated. “When you think about the fact that honor has stood the test of time and what it means, it’s astounding.”
Harris, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in the early 2000s, spoke about his experiences while deployed and how those lessons play a crucial role in his career today. Harris expressed three key points of importance which were physical, mental and emotional training.
“You have to be mentally, physically and emotionally fit, not just in the warzone but in the workforce,” Harris said. “That is the civilian version of honor. Everyone here makes it possible for us to go do what we need to do and come back in one piece.”
While Harris spoke about the physical challenges he experienced such as hot weather, strenuous activity and heavy gear, he acknowledged that without the hours of diligent training, none of those obstacles would have been possible to overcome. He related the challenges faced in Iraq to working long hours in the office where issues such as fatigue and hunger can play a role in productivity.
In expressing the importance of mental and emotional training, Harris cited an example of a time his orders were extended indefinitely and his team had experienced several losses within a week. “I don’t know how to give up,” Harris said. “I just honestly don’t know how to.” Harris pointed out that the only way forward was to keep moving forward, which is precisely what he did.
Harris recalled several experiences where teamwork was the difference between life and death. He stressed the importance of teamwork and collaboration within the workforce to ensure success for the warfighter.
“Somebody you work with every day that you rely on, now they are gone, what do you do?” Harris asked. “You have to keep rolling with it. And that’s why working together as a team is vital.”
“We must continue to strive to save each other from the grasp of deterioration and go forward,” Harris said. “That’s what it takes for both the soldier to sleep at night, and the civilian to ensure the soldier comes home.”