There is a lot about me I want to list. It will be broken out in personal and professional details and will be continuously updated. Why professional? Why not? I’ve read that having a website which lists your skills and capabilities greatly increases your hiring percentages. So, I’m a man of trying anything that might improve my success in any area. So here goes.
I grew up in West Warwick, RI (yeah, yeah – keep the small state jokes to yourself), I lived there until I joined the Navy right after high school. After a ten year career which allowed me to find my wife of now 17 years, I left the service to go into government contracts. This gets a bit into the professional, but while it’s important to my personal story, I’ll keep it brief. After three years, I was recruited by a company to the Charleston, SC area. We’ve been here ever since and have raised two boys in a growing southern town.
My wife and I met while I was stationed in Washington state. She, completing an internship from the University of Missouri, is from the Chicago area. Yeah, it’s sounds funny out loud too. We dated for about ten weeks (or what you could call dating – I was at sea for 4 weeks of this period) and then got married. That’s right, two kids got married on a whim after barely knowing each other and have made it work for almost two decades. Yeah, it’s been tough along the way; but, luckily we are both too stubborn to give up or let the other walk away from a commitment.
We have two boys (born ‘o2 and ’04) and usually two dogs. We love them all – sometimes who is loved more depends on who is better behaved.
Before I met my lovely bride, I traveled the world thanks to the US Navy. I spend two years in school for electronics technician (radios, radars, satellite systems, computers, basic electronics) and then was sent to Yokosuka, Japan for my first command – USS O’Brien DD-975. Stationed on the Mighty OB for 3 years, we sailed Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Seychelles, and other places. We complete two Gulf tours in support of Iraq sanctions (pre-9/11) and spent a lot of time in Bahrain and Dubai. Heck, we even visited Vladivostock, Russia to partake in a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII.
During down time on the OB, my friends and I took up SCUBA. Diving was a major activity for those stationed in Japan and we did a lot of it. We got certified in all different areas and dove as much as we could. We always had a dive bag prepped for any port and we dove in some of the most beautiful waters in the world! Philippine Islands, Thailand, Okinawa, and a side trip to Pulua. It’s been a long time since I dove and I miss it a lot.
After seeing some good friends off the boat and back stateside, it was my turn. I attended a 3-month radar maintenance school in San Diego – yeah, it was tough [sarcasm]. Especially since it was “night school”: we classed up at 1500 (3 pm if you’re unfamiliar with the 24-hour clock) and usually were done by 2000 (8 pm). Fridays were sometimes come in and check in – “have a safe weekend shipmate”! And sometimes it was a phone in Friday. I’m sure you’re thinking how difficult the military is by now, just remember – the schools were usually rewards for our time at sea and a reprieve before we went back to our next sea command. I stayed in the barracks for about three weeks and then the Midshipmen came to town – US Naval Academy cadets would spend some part of the summer aboard a boat [FYI – you can only call it a boat if you’ve been to sea, otherwise, it’s ‘ship’ to you! :)]. So, the Midshipmen get placed in the barracks and the ‘real sailors’ got put up in hotels out in town – complete with spending cash for food. Yeah, it was totally beer money for me. I’m still surprised I survived that summer. Luckily, I did, and learned a great new skill.
I had so much leave (vacation) saved up, plus the Navy gives you about two weeks for travel and personal time prior to arriving at your next duty station. I spend 45 days visiting friends and family back home in RI before heading out to my next command, it was great. I had been gone five years, visited some amazing places, saw some amazing things, and had some amazing stories. I was on top of the world. My family was proud of me and I was proud to serve my country for them. I still can’t believe I got paid for that job!