Geneseo's Gradert rises to top of U.S. Navy's Oceanography Operations

Megan Brown
Navy Office of Community Outreach
Petty Officer 1st Class Jakob Gradert, a native of Geneseo, is part of the Naval Oceanography Operations Command.

GULFPORT, Miss. − Petty Officer 1st Class Jakob Gradert, a native of Geneseo, is part of Naval Oceanography and serves at Naval Oceanography Operations Command.

Sailors and civilians working throughout Naval Oceanography collect, measure, and analyze the elements of the physical environment (land, sea, air, space). They synthesize a vast array of oceanographic and meteorological data to produce forecasts and warnings in support of safety of flight and navigation.

Gradert, a 2012 Geneseo High School graduate, currently serves as an aerographer's mate at Naval Oceanography Operations Command, headquartered at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

“I would like to thank my family, Mark and Janet Vink, Terri Sliz and April Watson,” said Gradert.

“Naval Oceanography operates simultaneously at the strategic, operational and tactical levels of warfare in every theater around the globe,” said Rear Adm. Ron Piret, commanding officer, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. “We pride ourselves in our ability to characterize the battle space and then predict changes in the environment over time. Every ship that sails, every aircraft that takes flight, every submarine that dives beneath the surface of the ocean has to go to sea with the information that Naval Oceanography provides.”

According to Gradert, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Geneseo.

“My hometown taught me small town values like hard work, being honest and to help those around me,” said Gradert.

Naval Oceanography personnel demonstrate expertise in Hydrography, Geospatial Information and Services (GIS), datum issues, and Tactical Decision Aids (TDA). They combine knowledge of the operating environment with a thorough understanding of warfighting capabilities to assess and predict environmental impacts to friendly and enemy platforms, sensors and weapon systems.

Serving in the Navy means Gradertis is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy's forward presence allows for freedom of the seas,” said Gradert.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize the importance of accelerating America’s advantage at sea.

“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The U.S. Navy—forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power—deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships, and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”

Gradert and the sailors and the civilians they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I am most proud of reaching the rank of petty officer first class,” said Gradert. “I am proud of this because it is a senior rank so I can help those more junior to me.”

As Gradert and other sailors and civilians continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in keeping fellow sailors and civilians safe and serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Being in the Navy means serving my country and being a part of something bigger than myself,” added Gradert.

Naval Oceanography directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions, based on assured environmental information, faster than the adversary.