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 Lt. Collin Long, a native of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, serves aboard USS Billings, a U.S. Navy warship operating out of Mayport, Florida. 

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Josiah Trombley

Long graduated from Carmel Catholic High School in 2011. Long also earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Illinois State University in 2015.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Hawthorn Woods.

“I learned growing up that hard work and a good education get you far in life,” said Long. “Hard work is important in the Navy because it keeps you from getting complicant. We also work long hours and are away from family a lot so we have to work hard to be able to complete the mission. Education is also important because, without my college degree, I wouldn’t be a naval officer.”

Long joined the Navy five and a half years ago. Today, Long serves as a surface warfare officer.

“I wanted to join the military for as long as I can remember,” said Long. “At 12 years old, I joined the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps which motivated me to want to join the Navy specifically.”

Billings is a fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored surface combatant that operates in near-shore and open-ocean environments, according to Navy officials. Littoral combat ships integrate with joint, combined, manned and unmanned teams to support forward-presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions around the globe.

Littoral combat ships are hybrid surface combatants that lead manned-unmanned teams using unmanned aerial systems like the Fire Scout and Expeditionary Ordnance Disposal forces unmanned underwater vehicles. They conduct forward and maritime security missions like the Secretary of Defense Oceania Maritime Security Initiative. The ships also strengthen partnerships through port visits in small island nations like Tahiti and Fiji due to their shallow-depth hull.

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 recruiting and retaining talented people from across the rich fabric of America.

"We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day," said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, Chief of Naval Operations. "Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.

Long has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I am most proud of being recognized as Mine Division TWO TWO's Juinor Officer Shiphandler of the Year,” said Long. "I competed in a ship-handling competition and was chosen as the best shiphandler among all the junior officers within Mine Division TWO TWO. I am proud of that because I had done close to 21 months of deployment and it was nice to see my pride and dedication to becoming a good shiphandler pay off. I love driving ships. It is the best part of my job.”

Long serves a Navy that operates far forward, around the world and around the clock, promoting the nation's prosperity and security.

“Serving in the Navy means that every single day I get to make an impact on someone's life,” said Long. "I love getting the opportunity to get to know sailors from all walks of life, different backgrounds and different cultures. I get excited every day to come to work knowing I get to work with the people I work with.”

Long is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I want to thank my family, mentors and all the sailors throughout my career for never giving up on me and for helping me grow to be a better father, officer and man,” added Long.