I guess probably my junior or senior year of
high school — I grew up in the Wisconsin
area and I decided I didn’t really want to
stay in Wisconsin at the time — I went to
the Navy recruiter without my parents even
knowing. I decided I’m going to join the
Navy. It was really on a whim.
My dad was an Army veteran. He did 26 years and I
knew I didn’t want to go in the Army. I love to be on the
water, and the Navy — all right, let’s go! I went to boot
camp in Great Lakes, Ill. I started out as an engineer in
the Navy, on steamships, boilers, engines, all the auxiliary equipment. And I worked my way up.
As soon I left boot camp, I went to Japan on the
Belleau Wood [LHA 3], and we did the largest ever — and
the first ever — hull swap to the USS Essex, that was LHD
2. Finished there, at the time I was a first-class petty
officer, and I went to the USS Juneau, LPD 10, and coming
off the Juneau, I actually got selected for the engineering
limited duty officer program, so I became an officer.
I went to the USS Iwo Jima in Norfolk, Va., as the
boilers officer, and the from there I went to a tour
with Naval Special Warfare [Command] as their maintenance manager for the Mark V Special Operations
Craft. And then went to a pre-commissioning DDG
up in Bath, Maine. I went to another tour with Naval
Special Warfare in San Diego, where I did 11-meter
RHIBs [rigid-hull inflatable boats], was the maintenance officer/chief engineer of those. I did numerous
deployments, my last one being in Basra, Iraq, with
one of the SEAL teams, as their maintenance manager.
Once I left the military, I took a job in Los Angeles
with the Air Force, working space and missile defense.
I did that for probably seven, eight months, a very
exciting job. I learned a lot of stuff, the space aspect of
it, but I didn’t want to move to Los Angeles, so I was
driving back and forth from San Diego. I said, “Well,
this probably isn’t for me.”
I got a job with Epsilon Systems Solutions in San
Diego. They’re a ship repair facility that does a lot of
work on the LCS-class ships. That’s where I really got
started on the LCS program, through ship repair, work-
ing on LCS 1 and LCS 3, Freedom and Fort Worth. We
became not the top repair company for Lockheed Martin
at the time, but No. 2. We did a lot of their work.
Then I started looking and saw that they build ships
in Marinette, Wis., which is about an hour and a half
from the town that I grew up, Pelican Lake, Wis. That
really intrigued me. … So I applied to Lockheed Martin
and, obviously, they knew me from San Diego and
what I’ve done for them out there, and got hired.
I started doing the trials aspect of it, taking the
ships out, going through their entire test program,
builder’s dock trials, builder’s sea trials and with
INSURV [Board of Inspection and Survey] acceptance
trials. I kind of got a knack for it, because of my experiences in the military. So I understood the HM&E
[hull, maintenance and electrical] and how to operate
LOCKHEED MARTIN PRODUCTION SUPPORT MANAGER
LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP (LCS) TRIALS COORDINATOR
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