Pioneer Native Serves Aboard One Of Navy’s Most Versatile Combat Warships

A Pioneer, Ohio, native and 2008 North Central High School graduate provides key support as part of combat operations aboard USS Tulsa stationed in San Diego, California. Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Sisler is an electronics technician serving aboard the littoral combat ship.

A Navy electronics technician is responsible for electronic equipment used to send and receive messages, computer information systems, long range radar, and calibration of test equipment. Sisler credits his success in the Navy to lessons learned growing up in Pioneer. “Probably the biggest lesson is hard work always pays off,” Sisler said. “I come from a town of farmers who work sun up to sun down and if they don’t maintain that hard drive everyday they pay for it at the end of the year.”

The ship’s technological benefits allow for swapping mission packages quickly, meaning sailors can support multiple missions, such as surface warfare, mine warfare, or anti-submarine warfare. Designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft, littoral combat ships are a bold departure from traditional Navy shipbuilding programs. The LCS sustainment strategy was developed to take into account the unique design and manning of LCS and its associated mission modules.

According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is a long one. Following an 18-month training pipeline, sailors have to qualify on a simulator that is nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training pipeline allows sailors to execute their roles and responsibilities immediately upon stepping onboard.

“Petty Officer Sisler continually demonstrates superior knowledge of communications and navigation equipment when training and leading his Sailors,” said Lt. Matthew Prentice, the ship’s electronics material officer. “He is driven, tenacious, and completely devoted to Tulsa’s mission success. His work ethic is unmatched and his contributions to Combat Systems Department will be long-lasting.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Sisler is most proud of being named lead petty officer of a large recruiting station during his time as a recruiter.

“All three of my supervisors were advanced to chief petty officers and went off to do their six-month chief initiation,” Sisler said. “So I was all alone and depended on to at least keep the station afloat. Well I don’t do mediocre, so I went for it and met mission requirements two months in a row working very long hours, some days being around 18 hours. I took my large station to become a top three in the entire district. I was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal, but what meant the most was the trust and respect I had earned from my leadership that transformed my career to what it is today.”

Sisler is the latest in his family to proudly serve in the military. “My grandfather is a retired senior chief and my primary motivation for joining the Navy,” Sisler said. As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, he provides a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy to me means everything,” Sisler said. “I have family that have served that goes back before World War II. I believe that the discipline and work ethic I have learned from the military helps me in all aspects of my life, the biggest is trying to be the best dad I can to my little girls.”

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