Honoring our Veterans: Duane Heller
Today’s Veteran Spotlight is Duane Heller, Virtual Construction Engineer, who served in the United States Navy as an Operations Specialist.
How long were you in the Navy, and where were you stationed?
I was an Operations Specialist stationed in San Diego, On board the U.S.S Valley Forge from 1994 to 2000. Four of those years were active duty, and two years were inactive.
What was your MOS and what does it entail?
As an Operations Specialist I worked in the Combat Information Center as part of the crew handling the ship’s combat operations. I was launching missiles, hunting submarines, controlling the aircraft and playing billion dollar video games in real life.
What made you want to enlist in the Navy?
Before enlisting in the Navy, I graduated from the Marine Military Academy. I had a pretty hardcore military upbringing and have always been extremely patriotic. My father was an Air Commando, part of the Air Force’s Special Operations Team, and I wanted to do my part in serving my country. I love this country and everything it actually stands for, and I’m not afraid to be outspoken about that.
Did you learn anything about your time in the military that can be applied to your day-to-day work?
Beyond the team camaraderie, there is a strong sense of discipline that becomes instilled. When you’re in the military, you don’t get to pick and choose which tasks you want to complete or hand off to a colleague. You have to start it, follow through with it, and complete it. That’s a huge lesson that can be applied to any aspect of your life.
What advice would you give other veterans who are interested in pursuing the trades?
I’d say don’t hesitate because the trades are probably the best place that welcomes veterans. There’s a strong sense of team camaraderie that applies to almost any kind of trade.