Mesquite Native serves at weather center supporting world’s largest naval fleet

Lt. Michael Koletsos

Most Americans rely on weather forecasts to plan their daily routine. The U.S. Navy is no different. With numerous ships, submarines and airplanes deployed in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s area of operations, sailors stationed at the Fleet Weather Center, in Norfolk, Virginia, make it their primary mission to monitor extreme weather conditions in support of the fleet’s daily operations. 

Lt. Michael Koletsos, a 2009 Ralph H. Poteet High School graduate and native of Mesquite is one of these sailors serving at the Fleet Weather Center, which is responsible for providing timely, comprehensive, and tactically relevant information for ships, submarines, aircraft and other commands operating out of the Hampton Roads area. 

As a Navy oceanographer, Koletsos is responsible for overseeing all weather product that leave during the watch period. 

He credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Mesquite. 

“I learned to keep putting forth the effort and work hard to get what you want in life,” said Koletsos. 

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea. 

“Naval Oceanography defines and applies the physical environment for the entire Navy fleet from the bottom of the ocean to the stars,” said Rear Adm. John Okon, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. “There isn't a plane that flies, a ship or a submarine that gets underway without the sailors and civilians of Naval Oceanography.” 

Koletsos is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy. 

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.” 

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Koletsos is most proud of being the officer in charge of hydrographic surveys at my first command. 

“I was on my own for the planning and execution of the mission,” Koletsos said. “I had to resolve any issues that came up.” 

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Koletsos, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Koletsos is honored to carry on that family tradition. 

“My dad served four years in the Navy as a gunner's mate,” he said. “Got me interested in serving the traveling and getting to see many different things.” 

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Koletsos and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs. 

“It’s about serving the people and everything you're doing is for the country and not yourself,” added Koletsos. “It's all for the betterment of the country.” 

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