My military background started shortly after I graduated from high school in northeast Texas in 1993. I joined the Naval ROTC program at Texas A&M University at Galveston and majored in Marine Engineering. After graduation, I was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy and proceeded to my first assignment, Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL. After six months of drinking nuclear propulsion from a fire hose (so to speak) I moved to upstate New York for another six months of nuclear training at the prototype plant in Ballston Spa, near Saratoga Springs. After my immersion in atomic physics for over a year, it was time for a change, and I was off to Groton, CT for submarine school and a nice summer on the northeast coast. So I spent the first 15-16 months in the Navy being trained to do my job and now it was time to go do it.
After sub school I reported to my first command, a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine, the USS HAMPTON (SSN 767) homeported in Norfolk, VA, and promptly left for a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean in November 98, about a month after I showed up. It was a great deployment though, as we did some very interesting stuff underway and made some great port calls in places like Gibraltar, Spain, Turkey, Crete, Israel, Italy, and Bahrain. In between this deployment and the next in early 2001, we visited a couple spots in Florida, Curacao in the south Caribbean, and made a namesake city visit up to Hampton, New Hampshire. In Jan 01, we deployed again, only this time to the Northern Atlantic, completing two 50+ day missions and calling in Bergen and Tromso, Norway, Portsmouth, England, and Faslane, Scotland. Another great deployment, highlighted by being promoted to Lieutenant and my girlfriend coming to visit while we were in England. We spent several days in London and ended up engaged by the time she left to go home.
I left the HAMPTON about a month after we returned from deployment and transferred to shore duty in Charleston, SC, in September 01 where I taught nuclear power plant operations to junior officers (this is the same school I attended a few years before relocated a little further north). Good duty and lots of time off. This is where I really started fishing again. I had a friend with a center console bay boat that liked to go inshore saltwater fishing for reds and trout. I liked this too, but my love has always been bass fishing. I ended up buying my Bass Tracker and way too many rods and reels in SC.
From SC, it was back to Groton in March 04 for another round of sub school, this time at the advanced level. Had quite a bit of time here for fishing as well and caught a lot of nice bass on small waters. But I was training to go back to sea. And that I did in August 04 when I moved to Kings Bay, GA and reported to the USS LOUISIANA (SSBN 743)(GOLD) as the Strategic Weapons Officer. I enjoyed living in Georgia, despite the gnats and the heat and humidity, because the fishing was great., but it was short-lived. The needs of the Navy dictated that there were too many SSBNs (nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines) in Georgia and thus we changed homeport to Bangor, WA in August 05. I spent almost two more years on the LOUISIANA, making four strategic deterrent patrols and putting on Lieutenant Commander.
In May 07, I transferred once again to shore duty, assuming the role of the Squadron Weapons Officer at Submarine Squadron Nineteen here in Bangor and I’ve been in that job since. Unfortunately, I still spend quite a bit of time at sea monitoring and mentoring the weapons officers on the boats in the squadron, even though it's technically "shore duty." Not sure what the future holds just yet, and not sure how much longer I’ll be staying on active duty. We’re ready for a change. But I’ve enjoyed my service for the most part and would probably do it all over again.