My Tour of Duty in Hawaii
Prior to moving to Hawaii, I was TAD in San Diego for 3 months and once again decided to work with my uncle at his plumbing company Escondido Plumber and made a few dollars on the side. I met my family in Hawaii immediately there after at NCTAMS PAC.
By the time I arrived at NCTAMS PAC I had been a po1 for six years and knew it would be difficult to make Chief or Officer competing with the active duty Sailors. The FTS community is small and even though my evaluations were mostly Early Promotes (EP) the numbers would make it difficult to breakout on a board. I knew that I would need to be a rock star on shore duty to be considered. Challenge accepted! I set out to work harder, longer, and smarter than I ever had. I enacted a mandatory study program, developed the curriculum (based on my instructor training), and taught the majority of classes. This program was entitled, “TASKFORCE CROW”. Word got around about this program and it was usesd as the enterprise model. Because of this I was invited to work with the COMNAVNETWARCOM FORCE Master Chief to work on the development of the Enlisted Information Warfare Specialist (EIWS) Program. At the time we were calling it the Enlisted Cyber Warfare Specialist (ECWS) Program but quickly changed. While at NNWC I created a database to facilitate testing of the common core and command specific line items.
Previous to my trip to NNWC I was selected NCTAMS PAC Sailor of the year 2008. I flew back to compete at the regional competition and won Regional Sailor of the Year. I then flew to Norfolk again to compete at the TYCOM level and won NNWC Sailor of the Year. The next month it was back to compete at the US Fleet Forces competition. I was the first ever IT to win that competition since inception. The last stop was the Pentagon to compete for the CNO Shore Sailor of the Year where I was runner up. It was a great ride and I attribute all the success to my shipmates and family for sticking by me through all of it. MCPON Campa told me himself not to worry that I would be a Chief that year. Imagine my surprise when the Commanding Officer, entire Wardroom, and Chief’s Mess called me in to give me the news that my name wasn’t on the list. Undeterred I went home for lunch to break the news to my wife and she couldn’t believe it either. She actually couldn’t believe that I was going back to work. I remember thinking, how it would look to my Sailors if I buried my head in the sand.
Not me, I went right back to work with my head held high and smile. They were all in utter shock that I didn’t take the rest of the day off. I’ve always tried to lead by example and this was to be the best of those examples. I pressed on and in February 2009 my name was finally on the list, I was selected for a commission. All the hard work paid off and I have always believed in the phrase, “Chance favors the prepared mind”. During this whirlwind of a tour I applied for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) and after a few days of psychology, personality, and fitness tests, I was selected. It had always been my dream to work with the coveted SEAL Team Six and now I had the opportunity. Unfortunately the Navy had an alternative plan for my first tour of duty as an Officer. My detailer explained to me that I need to qualify Information Dominance Warfare Officer (IDWO) and then Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) first. He said that once I did that, he could transfer me early to DEVGRU. So I pushed ahead and qualified both within a year and a half, re-screened for DEVGRU, was again accepted only to discover that Carrier Placement wasn’t willing to let me transfer early as negotiated. These things happen and I decided to make the beast of it and became the #1 OOD on the USS Carl Vinson and the Skipper’s right hand man for the most difficult evolutions. I was the OOD during the arrival and subsequent burial at sea for Osama Bin Laden. Imagine my surprise when the Captain told me to get into the winds for an MH-53 Sea Stallion without telling why. I did as he asked and out the corner of my eye came two Osprey Helicopters landing eventually on the flight deck. Immediately following a team of SEAL Team SIX men jumped off the birds and placed an almost 7 foot tall body bag onto the cart. They went straight to elevator four, lowered it down, and back up in about 15 minutes. This was one of the highlights of my back to back deployments.