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Military – Salisbury native honored in U.S. Navy retirement ceremony

A retirement ceremony was held for Master Chief Navy Counselor Kenneth R. Fortner, United States Navy, April 17 at the NSA Mid-South Conference Center in Millington, Tenn.
Fortner is a native of Salisbury, and he attended North Rowan High School. He volunteered for the draft and enlisted in the United States Army in September, 1971, where he served honorably two years before becoming a civilian once again. He enlisted in the United States Navy March 6, 1981. Upon completion of recruit training in Great Lakes, Ill., he attended Mess Management Specialist “A” School in San Diego, Calif., and then went on to his first assignment on board the USS Tarawa.
His follow-on tours included Navy Recruiting District in Raleigh. He arrived as a second class petty officer and checked out as a first class petty officer, making the selection board for chief petty officer.
His next assignment was NRD San Diego as the recruiter in charge, then was selected as chief petty officer and assigned as Zone Eight supervisor in Riverside County.
After four years, he received orders to NRD San Francisco for assignment as the Sacramento Zone supervisor (Zone Five). During his last year there, he filled the billet as assistant chief recruiter.
At the end of four years, he moved to an assignment as chief recruiter of NRD Portland, Ore. With the completion of seven years there, and an accumulative 20 years in Navy recruiting production, Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) with recommendations from both the national chief recruiter and the NRC force command master chief brought his expertise to work with the staff at NRC headquarters in Millington, Tenn.
Fortner is a graduate of the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Class 77 (Blue Group) in Newport, R.I., and has earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from TUI University, Cypress, Calif.
Fortner’s decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (with one gold star) for second award; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with one gold star); Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three gold stars); Good Conduct Medal (one silver and two bronze stars); National Defense Service Medal (two bronze stars); Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Navy Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and the Korean Defense Service Medal.
Master Chief Fortner is married to Sandy Fortner. They have three daughters.
Deanna Sommerville
Private First Class Deanna Sommerville graduated from U.S. Army Basic Combat Training April 3 at Fort Jackson, S.C.
During Phase I, The Red Phase, PFC Sommerville received orientation and training on Army history and heritage and the Seven Army Core Values, followed by Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense Training, Landmine Defense and rappelling at the Warrior Tower.
During Phase Two, The White Phase, PFC Sommerville completed Combat Training, a Tactical Foot March, Engagement Skills and Situational Training Exercises and the Confidence Obstacle Course.
Phase Three, The Blue Phase, included Basic Rifle Marksmanship Training, U.S. Weapons Training (.50 Caliber M2, hand grenades, M136 AT-4, M240B Machine Gun and M249 Machine Gun) as well as a three-day, 10KM field mission and a five-day, 15KM field mission excursion and execution.
Sommerville is a 2007 graduate of North Rowan High School. She is the daughter of Tracie Sommerville of Spencer, a U.S. Air Force veteran and U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Dennis L. Sommerville (retired) of Las Vegas, Nev. She is the maternal granddaughter of Deanna Martin of Salisbury and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William J. Parham Jr., (retired) of Charlotte, and a paternal granddaughter of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James Sommerville Sr., (retired) and wife Betty of San Bernardino, California.
Sommerville is attending Advanced Individual Training and studying financial management at Fort Jackson, S.C.
DeMarcus Blakeney
Army National Guard Pvt. DeMarcus T. Blakeney has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches and field training exercises.
Blakeney is the son of Jerome Blakeney of Salisbury.
The private is a 2007 graduate of Salisbury High School.
Charles Desch
Army Reserve Spec. Charles H. Desch has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches and field training exercises.
He is the son of Cynthia and Charles Desch of Salisbury.
Desch graduated in 2003 from Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, Kernersville, and received a bachelor’s degree in 2008 from Belmont Abbey College.

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