When did you first know that you wanted to join the U.S. Navy? Did someone inspire you?
I knew from a very young age that I had wanted to live a life of service. My mother spent 50 years as an educator serving as a teacher, counsellor, vice principal and principal, and my father served in the Navy for 22 years. Their service, in particular my dad’s service in the Navy, really inspired me to serve our country in the naval service.
Tell me about your career. Where did you start and how you have advanced through the ranks? Can you tell us what ships have you served on?
My active duty career began in May of 2002 when I graduated from the United States Naval Academy. From there my family and I have been stationed all over the world having lived in Hawai’i, Annapolis, Norfolk, Bahrain, Newport and Mayport.
In my 19 years I have served in five ships, taught at the Naval Academy, did personnel management in Memphis and taught other Surface Warfare Officers in Newport.
I began my career as a division officer in USS Port Royal serving as the fire control officer, auxiliaries officer and damage control assistant. I served as my department head tours as the chief engineer in USS Nitze and USS Leyte Gulf. Upon completion of my department head tours, I served as the commanding officer of USS Squall and most recently served as the executive officer in USS Paul Ignatius prior to taking command this June.
You will be taking command of the USS Paul Ignatius soon. That’s a significant achievement. How does it feel to be given such great responsibility?
It is incredibly humbling to have the opportunity to command a warship. I have been blessed to serve with absolutely fantastic men and women during my career and to be in a position to pay that forward by helping others unlock their potential while serving our country is a dream come true.
What do you like best about the career you’ve chosen?
Without a doubt the people. I have seen many awe-inspiring things while serving at sea, but the relationships and lifelong friendships that have been forged working with sailors as they overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve their goals or help others in need has made my career worthwhile.
What advice do you have for any young people who are considering a career in the U.S. Navy?
I would offer that anyone considering a career in the Navy know their “why.” There are many rewarding reasons to join the Navy, but it is also a challenging lifestyle that you cannot fully appreciate until you are living it for yourself. Knowing “why” you want to serve and frequently revisiting that “why” will give you a sense of purpose that will carry you through the difficult times.
You have lived in Ponte Vedra for two years. What do you like best about making a home in this community?
There is so much to love about living in Ponte Vedra. The weather, the scenery, our awesome neighbors have all contributed to make this our favorite duty station so far!
How do you like to spend your free time?
I love to spend my free time golfing. If I am unable to golf, then I am likely thinking or dreaming about golf. I also enjoy reading and spending time outdoors at the beach or rucking.