Mesquite native Preston Burcham, an information systems technician petty officer 3rd Class (IT3) with the U.S. Navy, earned a Communicator of the Month award on June 9.
Communicator of the Month is a way of recognizing the work sailors put in while maintaining communications with submarines.
“There is a lot that goes into maintaining these circuits, and this award is a way of saying that a sailor went above and beyond the expectation,” Burcham said. “It was such an honor to be recognized as Communicator of the Month. Truthfully, this award is not mine alone. I could not have accomplished this without an amazing watch team to back me up.”
Burcham said everyone has to rely on each other to be knowledgeable and work as a team to maintain communications.
Burcham works on a watchfloor that maintains communications with units from the Fifth and Seventh Fleets. He joined in 2018 to begin his career in IT where the navy offered training and experience. He is part of Commander Submarine Group Seven (CSG7) stationed in Yokosuka, Japan – an hour’s train ride from Tokyo.
“It's my job to provide the best technical support that I can to the brave men and women that serve on our submarines,” he said.
On the watchfloor, Burcham starts his day with a morning brief from the admiral.
“After that, I personally like to find a big cup of coffee and get ready for any metaphorical fires that need to be put out,” he said.
Burcham then works a 12-hour shift full of maintenance and troubleshooting.
“I always feel confident that we can handle anything put in front of us,” he said. “I could not have asked for a better first command to be stationed at. CSG7 has provided me with plenty of experience and leadership that I need to be successful in my career.”
Burcham noted the initial challenge of waking up earlier, adopting a new way of life and learning to meet a certain standard.
“No one really knows what they are doing when they first join, but I met a handful of first-term sailors like me at CSG7,” he said. “Together, we learned the expectation. Now that we have been here a few years, and settled into our roles at the command, it seems like everything is sort of second nature. I feel completely competent in my ability to do my job and teach new sailors.”