Let’s honor U.S. Navy Seabee Dylan Dearth and U.S. Navy Operation Specialist Derek Dearth -brothers in arms.

The older brother, Dylan, has been serving for four years and Derek has been serving for two years. Joining the Navy is their own brotherly bond since military history is not prevalent in the Dearth family.

The boys’ father Darin reiterated, “We don’t have much of a military history... but the boys were adamant that they wanted to serve their country.”

Dylan serves under a construction battalion for the Navy, while Derek is an Operations Specialist (OS) on an aircraft carrier, specializing in communication. One brother on land, the other at sea- both proudly serving their country. Dylan and Derek have each earned a Petty Officer Second Class E5 rank for the U.S. Navy.

“The boys are very close, just 22 months apart. They grew up very close friends. It was very hard for them to go separate ways,” the boys' mother Tonya reflected. “It’s very hard for them to see each other, based on their deployments.”

Dylan Dearth serves as a Seabee at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. The Navy base serves as homeport to maintain and operate facilities. It provides services and materials in support of Naval Construction Force Units.

According to Navy.com, builders make up the largest portion of the Seabees. They construct and repair Navy and Marine Corps facilities wherever needed. These sailors' duties include carpentry, plaster, roofing, concrete work, masonry, brickwork, painting, cabinetry and more. In desperate situations, Seabees will be called upon to execute disaster preparedness and recovery operations or support naval combat operations.

Dylan has had two deployments; one in Rota Spain, the other in Bahrain. He finished his most recent deployment for Bahrain in Feb. 2021.

One of Dylan's proudest accomplishments was earning an NAM medal. This is a Navy and Marine Corps achievement for outstanding leadership. While on deployment in Spain, he was lead Surveyor on his project.

Dylan is rounding the corner to the end of his service. In January 2022 he is set to be honorably discharged, after four years. When asked if Dylan planned on returning to the Navy, his father responded, “No, he is ready to get out and start living as a civilian.” Darin continued, “He has a lot of options in front of him right now.”

Derek Dearth is a Navy OS. He currently works in the communications department on the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69, known informally as Ike, is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, originally commissioned in 1977. The carrier currently serves as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 2. CSG 2 is an elite fleet of military warships. The USS Ike is the second of the ten Nimitz-class (nuclear) aircraft carriers actively in service with the U.S. Navy.

Derek has completed two deployments; one was during the peak of COVID-19 in 2020. According to Darin, “They were stuck out at sea for a long time… The Ike didn’t port for 207 days.”

The aircraft carrier patrolled the waters of Oman and Saudi Arabia, pushing along the coast of the Middle East and North Africa.

Tonya added, “Those guys had the record for the longest stay on the ship without porting.” Spending almost seven months at sea is tough for any sailor to endure. After the ship finally ported, Derek had to “double-pump.” No time for rest, it was right back to sea for another six months. Derek spent 15 out of the 18 months in his tour on the aircraft carrier at sea.

One of Derek’s proudest accomplishments was earning the title of Shellback. This role is in reference to a line-crossing ceremony, an initiation rite, for seasoned Navy sailors when they cross the Equator. Derek jumped off the aircraft carrier into the Indian Ocean, then swam to a rescue boat waiting behind the aircraft carrier’s wake. The Shellback ceremony dates back to the 19th century. It was adopted by the U.S. Navy in the 1930s as a test to ensure the sailor was capable of handling long, rough times at sea. Those who have not had the ritual are nicknamed Pollywogs.

Derek is currently stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. He will be stateside for the next 12 months as his ship is in the yard, undergoing routine maintenance.
Dylan graduated UCHS 2016, being two years apart, Derek followed him in 2018. Both boys were very active in sports, playing on the football team together. Derek played basketball in the winter, while Dylan was on the wrestling team. “Dylan was an excellent student in school… straight ‘A’ student,” Tonya added

“Derek not so much,” Darin joked.

They laughed and his mother quickly came to his defense. “He was definitely a B student,” said Tonya.

When they weren’t busy studying or playing sports, they each enjoyed outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and golfing with friends and family.
Dylan went to basic training in March of 2017. Derek went to basic training in December of 2018. According to Tonya, the brothers wanted to take a little time off after graduating to relax, then prepare for the upcoming commitment. Both trained at the Naval Station Great Lakes located near North Chicago, in Lake County. This base is massive, being the largest military base in Illinois; it operates like a small city. It has its own fire department, security force (police), and public works department. The base produces around 16,000 sailors annually.

As custom in the Navy, after boot camp comes “A” school. Accession school is where sailors go to receive technical training in their selected military occupational specialty field (MOS). The sailors prepare for active duty with classroom work and live exercises. Both Derek and Dylan graduated from “A” School at the Naval Station Great Lakes. Unlike Navy boot camp graduation, “A” School graduation is much shorter, and not nearly as formal. When sailors have completed their “A” School Training, they will graduate and receive a certification of completion. Once they completed their final training, Dylan and Derek were deployed to Mississippi and Virginia, respectively.

The Dearth Family organized special sendoffs for their boys at El Reparo, on separate occasions before they shipped off. “Their friends, and our family of course, have all been very supportive - writing them letters and sending them packages. A lot of their friends came to visit them while they were in boot camp at Chicago.”

Several military families have struggled recently to see their loved ones and attend graduation ceremonies because of COVID-19 restrictions. Luckily both Dearth boys got to cherish the ceremony with family before the pandemic peaked. When asked in reference, Tonya stated, “We are very lucky, we have been able to see them and go to their graduations. We have made it to visit them on active duty, they aren’t very far away,” then she repeated, “We are very lucky.”

The Liberty Herald staff wishes the best of luck to Dylan and Derek Dearth of the U.S. Navy. We would like to say, “Stay safe, and thank you both for your service to our country.”