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Erbach supports navy mission, assigned to Yokosuka, Japan

YOKOSUKA, JapanEnsign Theresa Erbach, a native of Huntsville, initially joined the military to pursue an education at the Naval Academy.

“As I went along, I liked the idea of a challenge, of doing something I was very unfamiliar with and having that be my introduction to the world,” Erbach said.

Only one year later and halfway around the world, Erbach serves with Commander, Naval Forces Japan on the USS Shiloh to support the Navy’s mission for U.S. 7th Fleet in one of the world’s busiest maritime regions.

“It’s hectic and volatile,” Erbach said. “Because it can be a little crazy, the bonds you form with people out here are really close. I love the wardroom on my ship. It’s got some of the best people I’ve ever met.”

Erbach, a 2014 graduate of Grissom High School, is a candidate for surface warfare officer and forward-deployed at a Navy installation in Yokosuka, Japan, 43 miles south of Tokyo. Currently, she is command assistant training officer. On the Shiloh, she works as electronics warfare officer who manages all the radars.

“Optimism has carried me a really long way. Along with that, empathy,” Erbach said. “It’s such a team effort. If you don’t understand the people you’re working with, and times get tough, which they will, things will be difficult. Adaptability and the ability to react to change have really gotten me through.”

Erbach has earned Naval Academy commissioning. “I loved it but it was super tough. I struggled to find myself,” Erbach said. “The biggest thing for me was finding out what kind of person I was.”

“As I accrued more responsibility, I discovered that this is a necessary step I need to have in my life, because I’ve already learned so much from it,” Erbach said. “It’s such a good idea to serve. It teaches so many important life lessons. You learn so much about yourself and come out a better person.”

The Navy Office of Community Outreach or NAVCO produced this feature article and photographs. Employees in the outreach office travel the globe to collect and distribute photos to their hometown media.

Lt. Jake Joy documented Erbach’s work.

The Media Outreach Department with the Navy Office of Community Outreach is located in Millington, Tenn. For more information, visit outreach.navy.mil, Facebook/Navy Outreach, Twitter @NavyOutreach or Instagram @US_Navy_Outreach.

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