Interviewed by MC2 Michael Doan, PAO, NAF Atsugi
Can you tell us about yourself and your career?
I am originally from a small town in upstate New York. I went to the Naval Academy and then to flight school. After flight school, I did my first fleet tour in San Diego at HC-11 flying the CH-46. I stayed there for nine years for shore at COMHSWINGPAC and sea duty at HSC-21.When I left San Diego for my department head tour, I went to Guam and was with the “Island Knights” of HSC-25. From there I went to the U.S.Naval War College, then spent some time at Patuxent River, Md., with Naval Air Systems Command.
In 2013 I transferred to the USS George Washington (CVN 73) in Yokosuka -- I was the Combat Direction Center Officer (CDCO). Most recently I came from Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Unit, Tulane University. So in my time in the Navy, I’ve had lots of different jobs - in the fleet with squadrons and at sea, to the war college, NAVAIR doing acquisitions, to NROTC working on the professional development of midshipmen. And now I am here on the installation side.
This is not your first time in Japan, what are some things you enjoy about serving here?
I was on George Washington right before she swapped out with Ronald Reagan. I Japan. I like the people. I like the Japanese sense of community. I like the people we work with in Japan and the community that the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) Sailors have here. I like the food.
I like the culture and the opportunity to travel Japan – to have those experiences. Overall, I just enjoy Japan. (We had this) opportunity to come back to Japan and my family and I were happy to take it. We are happy to be here.
You have had multiple positions during your time in the Navy. How has your mission changed from your previous duty stations to your current job as XO here at NAF Atsugi? What challenges do you face here?
The mission really hasn’t changed. Coming out of the Naval Academy as a junior officer, my mission has always been the same -- to support and defend the constitution, to do my part in accomplishing the Navy’s mission to defend the nation. So, that really hasn’t changed. The one thing that has changed is the scope of responsibilities. At each new level you progress to, you are given increased responsibilities. What has also changed is the job and role I’ve been asked to perform.
I have been asked to do things that I never imagined I would have to do. I wanted to be a pilot and serve our nation. I have done that, but I have always been asked to do more and serve where the Navy needed me. I would say the challenges I face here are the same challenges that everyone else faces in the FDNF. Its great duty, but it’s also a challenging duty. There are a lot of responsibilities that you take on when you come out to FDNF regardless of your job or your rank. It will always be a challenge to do a good job and balance your work and family life.
It’s no different from myself, the skipper, or a Sailor new to the Navy on their first enlistment. You have to do all those things and none of them have changed in my 20-plus year navy career.
How would you describe your leadership style?
First and foremost, my leadership has a moral foundation with ethical decision making. It is mission focused -- so I am task orientated. I focus on taking care of people -- making sure that they have what they need to accomplish their job, to take care of themselves and their families. I focus on building that team that I am a part of.
What are your expectations of NAFA and the Sailors and civilians serving here?
What is your role in the mission?
Understand that and it will help you understand what you need to do to accomplish that job. The next is to just take care of each other. In FDNF, there are great rewards, but also great challenges both for your job and your family. If everyone does those two things, I think we can do great work here at NAF Atsugi. What are your goals and plans for your tour here and how will you work toward achieving them?
I try to keep it simple. For any new job, I want to make it better than when I got here. I want to make this job, this position, and this command better before I leave—to continually improve. Whatever it takes to accomplish that, I will do it.
If you focus on the mission, if you focus on your people, you will always make that command better. My personal goal is to enjoy my time left in the Navy and in Japan. I am coming toward the end of my career and I want to enjoy the time with my family. I want to have the opportunity to experience Japan just one more time.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am happy to have this opportunity to come out here and continue to serve. The service to the nation, service to the Navy, service to your shipmates and the service to your community is really important to me. I am happy to have the opportunity to learn more and to serve the Navy one more time.