Atlantic City Native Selected as ATRC's Student of the Month

Story Number: NNS181004-13Release Date: 10/4/2018 3:45:00 PM
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By Kimberly M. Lansdale, Center for Surface Combat Systems Public Affairs

DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- Working hard and excelling in the classroom led Aegis Computer Network Technician (ACNT) student to be selected as AEGIS Training and Readiness Center’s Student of the Month (SOM).

Fire Controlman 3rd Class Brandon Cruse, from Atlantic City, N.J., was thrilled to be recognized for his hard work and dedication.

“To be selected from a group of impressive Sailors is truly an honor,” he said.

ATRC’s command career counselor, Fire Controlman 1st Class Rose Raynes, nominated him for the award. 

“Cruse is a mid-shift student but he is always volunteering his free time with the Aegis Association,” Raynes explained.  “His energy, thoughtfulness, and positive attitude is inspiring to those around him, including me and his fellow junior Sailors.  I think he will have a positive impact on the future of our Navy.”

Cruse explains that his learning style is different.

“I am a holistic learner,” he said.  “I need to see the big picture.  A student like me needs to start with a big idea or concept and then go on to study and understand the details.  My instructor, Fire Controlman 1st Class Michael Butow, who spends countless hours improving our curriculum, provided the type of instruction I needed.  He was patient, thorough, and motivated me to do my best.”

Butow discusses Cruse’s enthusiasm and professionalism in the classroom. 

“Cruse consistently works to find new ways of grasping content to better his understanding, while providing feedback to assist his current and future peers,” he said. 

Since joining the U.S. Navy in December 2016, Cruse strives to become the Sailor his grandfather once was. 

“I joined because my grandfather, Clark Eugene Reeder, was a Seabee in WWII,” Cruse explained.  “He was courageous and also my role-model since I was a child.  When I was in elementary school, I would bring in his uniform for show and tell.  The Navy is and will always be in my blood.  Every day, I wear my grandfather’s WWII ring to remind me of his love and passion for his country and why I serve and protect today.” 

When Cruse is not busy learning about Aegis, he enjoys camping, hiking, and going to the gym with his high school sweetheart, Kaitlin. 

“My wife Kaitlin is my true support system,” he said.  “Without her love and strength, I could not be the Sailor I am today.”

Cruse, who graduates in October and is awaiting orders to his first ship, believes his ATRC shipmates have helped prepared him for the Fleet.

“Raynes has also helped me to succeed,” he explained.  “She volunteers a lot of her time and has numerous responsibilities.  Her dedication to the Sailors and mission, combined with her endless energy, is truly awe-aspiring and illustrates what a true Sailor can accomplish for not only his or her command, but also for the Navy itself.”

Cruse knows that the Navy will be his career.

“I really hope to become a Chief Petty Officer and make my grandfather proud,” he said.

AEGIS Training and Readiness Center (ATRC) is a part of the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) command.  ATRC provides Sailors with the knowledge, ability, and skill to operate and maintain the AEGIS Combat System through timely, effective, and integrated training delivered across Sailors' careers.  ATRC also provides Officers the knowledge, ability, and skill to operate, employ, and assess the readiness of the AEGIS and Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) combat systems aboard surface warships.


For information on AEGIS Training and Readiness Center, visit

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