WHS grad specializes in naval oceanography
Lt. Cmdr. Jason Gerontes, a native of Waterloo, is part of naval oceanography, ensuring the U.S. Navy maintains freedom from the ocean floor to the stars at the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center.
Sailors and civilians working throughout naval oceanography collect, measure and analyze 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.
Gerontes graduated from Waterloo High School in 2005 and currently serves as a meteorology and oceanography officer at the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center, headquartered at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
“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.”
“My sister Eleni is a teacher at the same high school I graduated from,” said Gerontes. “Keep crushing it!”
According to Gerontes, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Waterloo.
“I learned the importance of education,” said Gerontes. “Waterloo has the best schools in Southern Illinois, so my teachers set me up for success. I’ve continued to focus on education in the Navy.”
Naval oceanography personnel demonstrate expertise in hydrography, geospatial information and services, datum issues, and tactical decision aids. 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 Gerontes is part of a team 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.
“We need a strong Navy to ensure protection of regional security globally,” Gerontes said.
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.
Gerontes and the sailors and the civilians they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity to serve alongside the nation’s finest young men and women,” Gerontes said.
As Gerontes 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 Navy.
“Serving in the Navy affords me the opportunity to protect and defend the constitution of the United States,” added Gerontes.
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.