Robeson County native finds success in Navy

By: Staff report

NORFOLK, Va. — A Red Springs native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Coastal Riverine Squadron 2.

Chief Petty Officer Dennis Harris is a master-at-arms with the squadron operating out of Virginia Beach, Va. A Navy master-at-arms is responsible for security operations.

“I enjoy helping and developing junior sailors and officers in my job,” Harris said.

Harris credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Red Springs.

“My hometown taught me the importance of being honest and taking accountability for your actions,” he said.

The men and women of the U.S. Navy’s Coastal Riverine Force provide port and harbor security, high-value asset protection and conducts maritime security operations in coastal and inland waterways.

“I like the operational tempo of this command,” Harris said. “It’s a fast-paced environment.”

For two years in a row CRS-2 has won the Navy’s coveted Battle “E” Award, an award that recognizes a unit for its excellence in sustained superior performance in an operational environment and for being the best squadron in the Coastal Riverine Force. Eligibility for this award demands day-to-day demonstrated excellence in addition to superior achievement during certifications and qualifications conducted throughout the competitive period.

In addition to this achievement, CSR-2 also won the 2017 Chief of Naval Operations Off Duty Safety Award, a first for any unit under the charge of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.

“This squadron’s success is due to the dedication and caliber of its sailors at all levels,” said Cmdr. Joe Droll, commanding officer of CRS-2. “The demands placed on them are high, and they often make sacrifices to meet the mission, whether its training boat crews, security teams, maintainers or operation center watch standers. Through all the challenges they find a way to get the job done.”

Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Harris is most proud of being selected for chief petty officer.

“Becoming chief was a goal I set for myself when I joined the Navy,” Harris said. “It was the culmination of my career, and the sailors I was training and leading.”

While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Harris has found reward in service.

“The Navy has taught me if you take care of your sailors they will take care of you,” he said. “You always want to give sailors what they need, not what they want, to develop them into better sailors and people.”


Staff report