Airman Tyler Bretsch, a native of Earlville, is serving with the U.S. Navy’s Electronic Attack Squadron 139.
“My family and friends inspired me to join the Navy,” Bretsch said. “My dad served in the Army, and his service influenced me into joining. When he described his military experiences, it gave me a feeling of what to expect.”
Bretsch joined the Navy two years ago, and today he serves as an aviation structural mechanic.
Bretsch attended Earlville High School and graduated in 2019, and he makes use of many skills and values that he picked up there.
”The people who are closest to you are the people you can trust,” Bretsch said. “Growing up in a small town, I learned that working hard is important and will get you a long way in life as long as you stay focused and motivated to do the things you love.”
Built to replace the EA-6B Prowler, the EA-18G Growler is a carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft and is the cornerstone of the naval Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) mission. Its platform is derived from the combat proven F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, and the Growler adds an electronic warfare suite that enables it to suppress enemy air defenses as well as electronic attack operations.
The Growler has two seats, is more than 60 feet long and can weigh up to 66,000 pounds when fully loaded with all missiles and electronic jammers. It is capable of traveling more than 1,100 mph around 1.5 times the speed of sound.
Serving in the Navy means Bretsch 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 provides land and sea control,” Bretsch said. “It also provides transportation for ground support.”
With more than 90% of all trade traveling by sea, and 95% 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 prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities and capacity.
”For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” Gilday said. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
Bretsch and other sailors have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
”I was hand-selected to support a rescue detachment to repair one of our jets that broke down during an airshow in July 2021,” Bretsch said.
As Bretsch and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions to support national defense, they said they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.
”Because my dad was prior military, it’s a special honor to carry on his tradition,” Bretsch said. “It’s also interesting to get a feel for the different styles in the Navy. It’s a neat experience sharing stories with people back home.”