Oak Harbor, Wash. — Petty Officer 3rd Class Dearis Douglas, a native of Baltimore, joined the Navy for the opportunity to make his family proud and make a better life for himself.
Now, one year after joining the Navy, Douglas serves with the “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139, working with the Navy’s premier electronic attack aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
“I like the command triad here,” said Douglas. “Our commanding officer and all of our chain of command are veryapproachable and personable.”
Douglas, a 2003 graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, is a yeoman with Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139, a high-tech electronic attack squadron capable of altering the outcome of any engagement with the EA-18G “Growler.”
“I’m responsible for legal matters, awards, travel and evaluations,” said Douglas, who credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Baltimore.
“My family taught me that hard work is continuous and never ends,” said Douglas. “I was able to earn two awards using those principle.”
Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139’s primary mission is to conduct airborne electronic warfare while embarked with a carrier air wing. They deploy with aircraft carriers to project electronic attack dominance anywhere in the world at any time. This includes suppression of enemy radar systems, sensor jamming and electronic protection.
The EA-18G “Growler” is the most advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) platform in production today, according to Navy officials. The Navy invests in advanced “Growler” capabilities to ensure it continues to protect all strike aircraft during high-threat missions for decades to come.
“Being a part of the Growler mission is knowing I’m part of something bigger than myself,” said Douglas.
Serving in the Navy means Douglas is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Douglas is most proud of earning the title of blue jacket of the quarter for carrier strike group 11.
“I just jumped in and seized opportunities,” said Douglas. “I was thrown into being an assistant command fitness leader, and I volunteered for as much as I could.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Douglas and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving means stepping out of my comfort zone,” said Douglas. “Doing something others, are afraid to do.”