From Glenrock to Japan

Cinthia Stimson photo
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class/Electronics Technician 3 Josh Burrus is happy to be home in Glenrock for a few days before heading to Virginia Beach, Virginia for additional training prior to shipping out overseas, where he’ll serve onboard the U.S. Navy’s guided missile destroyer DDG-69 Milius in Yokosuka, Japan this fall.

Cinthia Stimson


Lightning slashes across ominous skies and thunder rumbled overhead in Glenrock Tuesday night, but inside of Petty Officer 3rd Class/Electronics Technician 3 Josh Burrus’ home, everything was calm.
Josh and his father, Bryan Burrus, sit together calmly in their living room, talking and relaxing.
Josh asks his Dad what’s for dinner.  The elder Burrus responds and they discuss the evening’s menu for a minute.
Josh, a 2018 graduate of Glenrock High School, is home on leave from the U.S. Navy for a few days.
The days will go by quickly and the passing hours are all about spending time with his dad, seeing friends, catching up on what’s been happening for the last 13 months, and eating home-cooked meals.
The sailor is heading to Virginia Beach, Virginia on Aug. 26 for three months of additional training in his electronics field. Then, he’s shipping out to serve his country onboard the guided missile destroyer DDG-69 Milius in Yokosuka, Japan.
“I’ve wanted to be in the military for a long time, even before high school,” Josh says.
He’s wearing his camouflage military fatigues (or in military lingo his NWUs – Navy Working Uniform), with BURRUS printed in black, bold block letters over his right breast pocket. U.S. NAVY is printed over the left pocket.
He looks sharp, youthful and eager — and he is. He’s more than ready to take on the world and all it has in store for him.
Josh spent a lot of time studying his options for the future, weighing the pros and cons of joining the military and narrowing down his choices to either the Army or the Navy.
The Navy won.
“They both offer the same pay and benefits, but the Navy has more of the lifestyle I want. I’ll get to travel during deployment for several months at a time. I’ll get to visit many countries. I chose the military over college because I want to provide a good foundation and childhood for my future family,” he said thoughtfully.
Family is of the utmost importance to Josh. He wants to make sure the path he’s taken in his life directly affects his own children – the ones he hopes to someday have – in a positive way.
Following graduation from GHS last year, Josh said goodbye to Glenrock and headed to Denver, where he took a final physical and was officially sworn into the U.S. Navy.
Without letting any grass grow under his feet, the Navy immediately sent him to Chicago, Illinois the next day, then put him on a bus to Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, where he attended boot camp until graduating Oct. 19.
Next, Josh attended Advanced Technical Training for 10 weeks, then A-School for 19 weeks where he studied everything electronics – radio systems, and radar and communication systems. He graduated from A-School July 19.
He’s trained as a Naval Navigation Systems Maintenance Technician, performing organizational level maintenance on a variety of complex electronic systems, ensuring the equipment’s smooth, steady, round-the-clock operation onboard the destroyer.
When asked to break it down into civilian terms, he explained, “What I do – if the radar breaks down, I go into the equipment … into the machine, do a lot of testing of the circuit cards and electronics, diagnostics. It’s a lot of hands-on work.”
While Josh is looking forward to experiencing the Japanese culture – and their cuisine – he said he’s neither happy nor sad about his upcoming service time onboard the Milius in Japan.
“I don’t speak Japanese. I don’t even know one word of Japanese, but I might try to learn. I love food. Their food intrigues me. It’s beautiful over there and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the scenery,” Josh mused.
Bryan, while supportive of his son’s Naval career, is going to miss his son terribly. It’s visible in his body language and in his eyes when he speaks.
Up until Josh’s enlistment in the Navy, Josh and his Dad spent four years living as two bachelor buddies in the house. Sometimes Bryan cooked dinner. Sometimes Josh did.
The way they talk to each other, reminiscing and sharing stories, it’s obvious that this father and son possess a tightly-knit bond.
“This is his choice – his decision. I support him wholeheartedly. It’s hard to see him go, but I support him 100%. My girlfriend, Karen, listens to me vent my worries and concerns as a dad. She’s been my rock,” Bryan said, his voice breaking a little as he talks about his son’s upcoming departure to Japan this fall.
Bryan, a single father, moved to Glenrock from Pennsylvania five years ago. He wanted a better place to raise his children he explained – the kind of place that would provide them with numerous opportunities to excel and thrive.
He chose Glenrock.
Josh’s parents are no longer together. His twin sister, Brittany Burrus, and his mother, Tracy Orr, live in Pennsylvania.
Josh beams – just lights right up – when he talks about his family.
“My family – my sister, my dad, my mom – have all been so supportive of me. When I was in boot camp, they’d always send me letters.
“They’ve always encouraged me to do better in life. They are my support system,” Josh said, a twinkle in his eye and a genuine smile across his chiseled features.
Josh said growing up in Glenrock these last few years have made a huge difference in his life, too.
From teachers to coaches, playing on the varsity football team to wrestling, to participating in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and his former job in town at the Rock Bottom Café, everyone has had a hand in and contributed to molding him into the man he is today, he said.
“My background here has been a big influence in my life. Everyone has contributed to who I am. There’s so many good people here. I really want people in Glenrock, in town, to know they’ve made a difference in my life.”
Josh talks about missing Wyoming when he’s gone. He loves the wide open, scenic country. He misses the laid back, homegrown type of people who live here.
And, he misses his family.
“No matter how much time we get with our family, it’s still not enough time,” he said.
When asked what’s the one thing he wants to do before heading overseas to Japan, Josh considers the question thoughtfully.
“One thing that I think would be fun would be skydiving.”
Even in the Navy, the sky’s the limit for Josh Burrus as he charges out to meet life head on.


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