I enlisted in 1972 in the US Navy Reserve and was sent to Naval Communications Training Center, Corry Station, in Pensacola, Florida.
I completed training to become a telecommunications operator—Communications Technician (Operations)—in the Naval Security Group Command.
While at Corry Station, I was required to take the Foreign Language Aptitude Test (known today as the Defense Language Aptitude Test). Along with others, I was surprised to achieve a score of 38—the threshold for language training was 18. I applied and was accepted for language training to “cross-over” to the Communication Technician (Interpretive) rating.
In March, 1973, I entered the East Coast Branch of the Defense Language Institute in Washington, DC to learn the Russian language. I successfully completed that course and subsequent training at the Naval Technical Training Center Detachment aboard USAFB Goodfellow, San Angelo, Texas.
(The Navy later renamed the Communications Technician rating to Cryptologic Technician.)
In September of 1974, I stepped aboard USS AMERICA at Pier 12 on US Naval Station, Norfolk, VA for the first of what would be 15 cryptologic direct support missions. I also served with Cryptologic Direct Support Elements aboard the aircraft carriers USS FORRESTAL, USS INDEPENDENCE, USS SARATOGA, USS NIMITZ, and USS EISENHOWER, two amphibious ships (USS HARLAN COUNTY & USS FAIRFAX COUNTY), and one destroyer (USS RICHARD E BYRD).
All of my sea duty was “temporary” and performed while assigned to a shore command. Those included facilities in Maryland, Scotland, Spain, and Turkey.
I earned and was awarded the Enlisted Submarine Warfare insignia, or Dolphins, in July 1976 while deployed aboard USS WILLIAM H. BATES (SSN 680). She was the third boat on which I served; the others were USS HAMMERHEAD, USS NARWHAL, USS BERGALL, USS SKATE, & USS TUNNY.
Throughout my service, I trained and led diverse teams of Navy and Marine Corps cryptologic technicians in intelligence collection, analysis, and reporting as well as signals security, operations security, and electronic emissions control. I managed individual and collective training for sailors in professional and military matters, and was responsible, at a remote duty station, for managing off-duty college education programs for my shipmates.
In 1983, while serving aboard US Naval Field Station, Sinop Turkey, I was selected for advancement to Chief Petty Officer. I was initiated into the realm of Navy Chiefs at the Naval Security Group Activity, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. I finished my career in 1992, having served as the Command Chief and Admin Officer at the Naval Reserve Security Group Activity aboard Philadelphia Naval Station, Pennsylvania.
- Recognition among top 10% of US Navy Russian linguists
- Award of the:
- Joint Service Commendation medal
- Two Navy Achievement medals
- Four Good Conduct medals
- Navy Unit Commendation
- Meritorious Unit Commendation
- Navy Expeditionary medal
- National Defense medal