Naval Air Station Whidbey Island earns Electronics Technician of the Year

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Wood, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest

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OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) – Electronics Technician 1st Class Marcus Kruse was selected as the Navy’s 2016 Electronics Technician of the Year. As recipient of the award, Kruse was given top recognition amongst all electronic technicians (ETs) in the U.S. Navy.

Assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s (NASWI) Ground Electronics Maintenance Department, Kruse distinguished himself with his broad expertise and by playing an integral role in helping to ensure the sustainment of air operations on NASWI.

Kruse’s nomination package first went to the Commander, Navy Installations Command (NCIC) level of the competition where he was selected to compete across the entire Navy as the overall best ET of 2016.

Kruse was shocked when he heard the news of his selection.

“I’ve always tried to excel in my technical knowledge,” said Kruse.

This award is the ultimate recognition of that technical knowledge. Kruse said he always asked questions and constantly searched for knowledge and that’s what got him where he is today.

Kruse attributed his recognition to his exemplary performance in three crucial events.

“We have an inspection every 18 months,” Kruse explained, “and we did the best out of all the air stations and we had no discrepancies at all. So, that was the first one and I was a big part of it.”

Secondly, Navy Region Northwest in Bangor, Wash. experienced issues with a communication suite. The plan was to contract it out for repairs, but Cruse and two other ETs from NASWI personally visited Navy Region Northwest.

“We went out and fixed it for them,” said Kruse, “and that was a big saving, around $20,000 because they didn’t have to contract it out.”

The last major incident left NASWI temporarily without communications as a bird landed-on, and shorted, a high voltage cable to which one of NASWI’s cables was connected.

“We had to shut down the airfield,” said Kruse. “I was on leave when it happened and so I came in anyway and was here until four or five in the morning. I came in a bunch of other days and ended up finding 14 bad radios and eight or nine bad circuit cards that ended up being about $180,000 with the parts. I found a way to get them all for free.”

Kruse explained that he simply reached out to other people and contractors who had a surplus of the parts. NASWI was able to resume operational capability with little to no cost on account of Kruse’s innovative thinking.

Ground Electronics Maintenance Officer Lt. William Mapp stated the nomination for the Navy’s Electronics Technician of the Year was obvious.

“Kruse is our go-to-guy for almost everything electronic,” said App. “He’s been here a long time. He has lots of experience from the fleet and it was an easy choice when it came down to finding someone within our organization to nominate.”

Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer of NASWI, was also pleased with the nomination and selection.

“Electronics Technician 1st Class Marcus Kruse is extremely deserving of his selection as the Navy’s Electronics Technician of the Year,” said Moore. “He represents the very best of Team Whidbey, leadership capability, and professional competence.”

Kruse gave his own advice for those wishing to stand out in their own technical fields.

“Learn from the people around you first and then learn where they learned.”

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