Petty Officer 3rd Class William Ballard, a native of Atoka serves aboard a U.S. Navy warship operating out of Norfolk, Va.
Ballard graduated in 2020 from Munford High School.
The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Atoka.
“It’s important to stay true to a cause or purpose,” said Ballard. “There’s a commitment required to serve in the Navy. Every day I try to set myself up for success.”
Ballard joined the Navy three years ago. Today, Ballard serves as a cryptologic technician aboard USS Ross.
“I joined the Navy to travel the world,” said Ballard.
Ross, a guided-missile destroyer, provides a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments.
A destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.
More than 300 sailors serve aboard Ross. Their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. Their jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry, alongside a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.
Serving in the Navy means Ballard is part of a team 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.
“The Navy offers a presence on the water around the world,” said Ballard. “This presence is on display for everyone to see, so it can prevent conflict before it starts.”
With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.
Ballard has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.
“I’m proud of making petty officer third class last September,” said Ballard. “For me, making this rank is the first stepping stone to feeling like I really belong in the Navy.”
As Ballard and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.
“Serving in the Navy gives me the life tools I need to succeed,” said Ballard.
— Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach