Chauncey G. Olinger, Jr. ’55Upon commissioning in June of 1955, I shipped out aboard the U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61) as a watch and gunnery officer. At that time, the Iowa carried ComBatCruLant on board so all was spit and polish, and as we cruised the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Med social occasions showed up regularly at which contingents of younger officers were required.
This photo by the ship’s photographer shows four Iowa officers in 1957 at a city hall reception by the mayor of Majorca in the Mediterranean. From left to right, the four officers (the local ladies’ names are lost to history) were: Captain Jones (USMC), yours truly Lt.(jg) Chauncey G. Olinger, Jr. USN, Lt.(jg) William B. Huntley, USN, and Lt. David Tobias, USN.
James G. O’Neill ’65
I finished requirements for my BEE degree on February 26, 1965; walked over to Maury Hall in my Ensign’s uniform; took the oath; returned the Chief Yeoman’s salute; gave him a silver dollar; and went home to Wilmington, Delaware. The following June, when my class graduated, I was already in Pearl Harbor on the USS Taylor (DD-468). I served two years on the Taylor with two deployments to Vietnam as Main Propulsion Assistant (MPA) and then was assigned to the pre-commissioning detail of the USS Leahy (DLG -16) which was undergoing modernization at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Upon Leahy’s (re)commissioning I was assigned as MPA and remained throughout a UNITAS cruise around South America http://ussleahy.com/O’Neill.html.
After active duty, I worked at Newport News Shipbuilding as a Noise Review Coordinator on the SSN-688 quiet submarine design. Subsequently, I obtained an MEE from UVA and worked as a frequency synthesis engineer with ITT, in electronic countermeasures at the Naval Surface Weapons Center, and as a Security Engineer at US Secret Service. I finally obtained a position with the US Marine Corps where I spent 18 years. I was a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Virginia for 40 years and have been a Certified Professional Logistician since 1981.
I can honestly say that I have retired from both the Navy and the Marine Corps; the Naval Reserve as a Commander, Engineering Duty; the Marine Corps as Deputy Director, Program Analysis & Evaluation, Marine Corps Systems Command. After retirement, I worked on a consulting basis for MKI Systems for 13 years specializing in weapons system acquisition policy. I am now travelling and FULLY retired.
Eric Luehrs ’04
I went Submarine Service and completed the training pipeline by November 2005. Then I was stationed onboard USS CHICAGO (SSN-721) out of Pearl Harbor for almost 3 years where I earned my Submarine Warfare pin and became PNEO qualified. My shore tour was at NAVSEA 07 in Washington DC where I worked in PMS 392A supporting the active submarine fleet.
While at NAVSEA I took classes I needed to apply to medical school as well as the MCAT. I left the sub force at the end of 2010 and applied to medical schools during the summer of 2011. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk where I grew up.
Now I am in my M2 year of medical school and will graduate in 2016. I am once again active duty in a program called HSCP, where the Navy pays me as an E-7 plus time in service and I use the GI Bill to cover tuition.
I was married on December 30th, 2012 to Sarah Coleman, the love of my life who I met in Hawaii back in 2008. We have a labradoodle puppy and are living in Norfolk.
Since I started working towards becoming a Doctor I have received a lot of questions from other Navy friends about how I did it etc. The main reason for posting this update was to reach out to any other UVA alumni or MIDN who might have questions about the Medical route, the sub force or switching communities, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers.
Bill O’Malley ’51
I enjoy hearing from you. It’s been a long time. I have fond remembrances of my years in the NROTC at U.Va. and the 3 years I spent on active duty aboard the USS Roanoke (CL145) and the USS Gilbert Islands (CVE 107)
David Van Petten ’73
Captain Van Petten was born 26 January 1954, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1977 with two degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Applied Mathematics. After Navy Nuclear Power Training and Surface Warfare School, he served aboard the Navy cruiser USS TRUXTUN (CGN-35) from 1979 to 1981 as the Machinery One Division Officer where he deployed to the western Pacific (WESTPAC) Ocean and the Indian Ocean during the Iranian Hostage Situation. During this WESTPAC, the TRUXTUN served as plane guard and duty on “GONZO” station. Prior to his departure from CGN-35, he completed his CICWO and Nuclear Engineer (NAVSEA 08) qualifications. After completing Damage Control School, Captain Van Petten reported to the USS BAINBRIDGE (CGN-25) from 1981 to 1982 as the Damage Control Assistant and Repair Officer. During t his tour on the USS BAINBRIDGE, he deployed on his second WESTPAC, qualified OOD and Surface Warfare Officer.
Navy Reserve duty since 1982 includes two Commanding Officer (CO) tours and two Executive Officer (XO) tours within the Navy Reserve Readiness Command (REDCOM) Mid-Atlantic Region: USS D. B. Beary (FF-1085) – CO & XO; Surface Warfare Center Det 106 – XO; and the CO (see photograph) of NAVSEA Det 1506 (NAVSEA IG). Captain Van Petten was the Primary Technical Training Advisor (TTA) for the REDCOM Mid-Atlantic Region from 1997 to 2003 and served as the Reserve Battle Force IMA Augmentation (BFIMA) Technical & Training Advisor from 1997 to 2002. Prior to his retirement, he was assigned as a Senior Program Management Officer in NAVSEA’s Program Management Unit performing Aircraft Carrier Surge Maintenance (SurgeMain) work at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Prior tours included Officer Conducting the Exercise (OCE) during ADSW for the Large Test Asset Live Fire Testing & Evaluation (LFT&E) on the ex-AMERICA (CV-66) for the Program Executive Office – AIRCRAFT CARRIERS, Future Aircraft Carrier Office (PMS 378); NAVSEA Det 1206’s Chief Engineer, supporting PMS 312’s work on the Aircraft Carrier Ship Maintenance (ShipMain) Project; the Engineering (N43) Department Head in COMNAVSURFLANT Det 606; the Projects Action Officer for NAVSEA Det 1706 (NAVSEA IG); and in the Pentagon’s OPNAV N4 106 Unit, as the N43 Assistant Department Head, providing support in the N431 Office for Supportability, Maintenance, and Modernization.
Captain Van Petten is a life member of the Association of the United States Navy (formally the Naval Reserve Association), participating since 1988. Other memberships include the Navy League, American Society of Naval Engineers, and the Naval Institute. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (Mechanical) in the State of Virginia.
Awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal (2), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Battle “E” (2).
Captain Van Petten and his wife Karen, a Registered Nurse, have one son and daughter. His son, a graduate of the University of Maryland in College Park, is a Program Manager. His daughter, a graduate of Longwood University, teaches elementary school. The family resides in Chesapeake, Virginia where he works as an Engineer for Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, a Department of Defense contractor.
Robert Warner ’68
After graduation in 1968, I served in the Navy as a ship driver off the coast of Viet Nam – and later as Destroyer Squadron 32 communications and (later) operations officer in the Mediterranean Sea until 1972. The Navy got tired of me running into things and finally sent me to law school at William and Mary. The following years were spent as a Judge Advocate and then as a government contracts attorney with the Navy Office of General Counsel. I retired from the Naval Reserve as a CDR in 1991 and then finished my civil service career in 1997 as a field attorney and teaching government contract law to contracting officers. (You can see now who is responsible for all that waste, fraud, and abuse..) Took my boat to Florida ahead of the howling mob and settled in Fernandina Beach (near Jacksonville) – where I taught public school (Global Studies, Economics, U.S. H istory, and Government) until 2006 and heart trouble. Been recuperating ever since…. I have a fine daughter, Caroline, from my first marriage, who is an Architectural Historian with the Maryland Historical Trust, three dogs, one ancient cat, and a garter snake that still lives under the porch.
Alexander Monroe ’64
Following commissioning, I served as Gunnery Officer and an underway OOD in USS Aucilla (AO56) and at the Naval Amphibious School, Little Creek. Following release from active duty, I enrolled in the graduate school at William and Mary and earend an M.A. in Government. Concurrently, I affiliated with the Navy Reserve and reached the rank of Captain. I served in a Group I Navy Reserve Destroyer and in vairous other commands. Ultimately I gravitated to the Naval History and Heritage Command. In that capacity, I was assigned to the Command Historian’s Office at USCINCLANT, later known as USJFCOM. I was retired and asked to stay on by the Director of Naval History and am now occupied doing oral histories and abstracts of those done by others. It has been a long and rewarding time, for which I am very grateful. I have two daughters, one a lawyer in Oregon with a husband and two boys and one, a physician at Johns Hopkins with a husband and daughter.
Jack Cann ’63
John P. Cann is a Research Fellow at Marine Corps University, a former member of the research staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Virginia, and a retired professor at the Marine Corps University. He earned his doctorate in War Studies at King’s College London in 1996, published Counterinsurgency in Africa in 1997, Memories of Portugal’s African Wars, 1961–1975 (ed.) in 1998, The Brown Waters of Africa in 2008, Flechas in 2013, and numerous articles on small wars over the years. His fifth book, Flight Plan Africa, is forthcoming in 2014. He is a retired naval captain and flight officer specializing in open ocean reconnaissance aviation and served in a variety of aviation assignments, including command. He has been awarded the Portuguese Navy Cross Medal and the Medal of Dom Afonso Henriques for his writings on conflict in Lusophone Africa.
Brian Gritte ’76
Mr. Brian Gritte graduated from The University in 1976 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and received a commission as an Ensign, USN. He went on to earn his Naval Flight Officer Wings of Gold and an then received an MS in Aeronautical Engineering at the Naval Post Graduate School. During his 21 years of Naval Service he completed Operational tours as Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander in P-3B and P-3C UII aircraft. He now has over 25 years of experience as a Program Manager, Deputy Program Manager, and Lead Engineer both as a Naval Officer and in the commercial sector. As a Naval Officer, he completed Acquisition tours as Deputy Program Manager for integration and installation of Global Positioning System hardware and software into all Navy and Marine Corps aircraft and Lead Systems Engineer for Propulsion and Power Systems in the new technology V-22 Tilt-Rotor Aircraft. After transitioning to the commercial sector, Mr. Gritte gained experience as a Lead Engineer for the installation of night vision–compatible lighting into a series of HC-130 aircraft and as Program Manager for installation of test apparatus into a USAF C-12 aircraft. He has worked Counter IED programs with the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) providing management oversight, acquisition documentation, schedule management, field test support, and technical issue resolution for technology solutions being used in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). He has also supported the Joint IED Defeat Organization in their Initiatives and Technology Branch. He is currently the International Lead supporting the Army’s RDECOM and their Data Exchange Agreements with foreign partners on the subject of Counter IED technologies.