STENNIS, Ms. – 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 around the world, sailors and civilians serving with the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, advise Navy leaders about the impact of ocean and atmospheric conditions on future operations.
Lt. Cmdr. Mark Hebert, a native of Houma, Louisiana, is one of those responsible for providing timely, comprehensive and tactically relevant information for ships, submarines, aircraft and other commands operating throughout the globe.
As an exercise and global force manager, Hebert is responsible for coordinating all of the deployable teams that travel around the world to ensure that Navy leaders have the tools they need to make operational decisions.
Hebert credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Houma.
“Growing up in Houma, I learned the importance of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Hebert. "We have a lot of hurricanes, and even if you're going through the same thing, it's important to find a way to help out."
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.”
Hebert 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 to earn distinction in a command, community and career, Hebert is most proud of earning a promotion to commander.
“This selection to commander shows just how much my Navy family, including my wife and two children, have helped me grow,” said Hebert. "Getting to this point is a testament to all the mentorship from the chief's mess, my peers and senior officers. Through their guidance, I have been successful in earning the trust of those I am responsible for leading. My success would not have happened without all of them.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Hebert, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Hebert is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My great-grandfather on my dad's side was a colonel in the Louisiana National Guard during World War II and my grandfather was a machinist's mate in the Navy during the Korean War,” said Hebert. "Also, on my mother's side, I have relatives who served in the Venezualan Navy."
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Hebert and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
"Serving in the Navy means that I have the opportunity to leave the world a better place,” added Hebert. "Everywhere we go, we try to make the situation better. Anything I can do to support the operations or helping the sailors I interact with on a day-to-day basis is very rewarding."