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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

23 Years Speech - Lessons Learned in Life & Navy

23 Years Speech 25 April 2014. NCC(AW/SW/SCW) Astro

Thank you to all who came & sit for the next 1 hour, those who prepare for this time-honored tradition through MSC leadership, my sponsor, volunteers & participants in the ceremony. Thank you. Thank you for my friends and relatives according to their mileage: DC (_____), my auntie Lolitz from Switzerland, my Nanay & sister in-law from Philippines representing my mom & dad. I’ve seen so many ceremonies and all have to follow certain script to keep the tradition and part of it that is different is how you talk about your 20+ years in the Navy and to whom it is dedicated to – that makes it special.

Much of this talk can now easily be express on Facebook than talk about it in front of many good people. But I’ll do both to accommodate most of my friends in the West Coast & other parts of the world to express my History and “Thank you” on how I completed this amazing 23 year adventure. These are all for you.

About 3-6 months before I took my oath I was working with American Express Manila but got accepted to two more challenging job: a top national bank in the Philippines & the US Navy in Subic Bay. I was torn on that 2 job offers, what to accept. So my dad ask me which one do you want $$$ or Peso? He even consulted palm reader and saw me dress in whites travelling the world; the psychic said I was going to become a doctor. And so it’s history.

Lesson #1: Don’t consult a psychic, it’s a sin.

During my oath taking in Subic, it was the first (and last) time I had my mom and dad together after 10 years of separation (“divorced” when I was at around 5 years old) in a photo while they both attended my oath taking in Subic Bay in January of 1991. You can see them in one of the video clip. Noticed I took the job for money and have the American Dream because 10 years later – if that is your goal, simply for money – it won’t last – I decided to leave the Navy but let’s pause for that story.

Fast Forward, my first tour was with USS Independence for two years where I experience amazing places like Australia or Dubai (when it was just sand & mosque). Being on a Forward Deployed ship in Japan is when I started to appreciate the vast culture of Asia. There I also met Lalaine & Posis family, Lito & Joyce and many others who couldn’t make it. There I also met my half-sister for the first time after 26 years. We also had our first mini reunion when my dad, brother & nephew went underway with me for 3-day Tiger Cruise from HK to Japan.

Lesson #2: Overseas and relationship with other cultures opens your mind and help you empathize with diverse people & personality.

I was then transferred to Ventura County in California with NMCB 5. That’s when I discovered I was home with the Seabees. Got my first two home there because I thought I can homestead there. That’s where I grew up as a Sailor. Completed my Masters & became SOY while I was at PSD Point Mugu & Port Hueneme then join the Reserve via 2nd NCB then Chaplaincy program with the Air Force when I entered the Seminary for about 6 months. But then I discovered my calling is not to become a youth pastor nor work in a corporate world (3 months at American Express in Oxnard, CA) but as a Sailor – so I join back after 11 months in the Reserve. Thanks to the persistence of my kumpadre Chris Dayag – a Navy Recruiter in Los Angeles who insisted me into going back to the Navy.

Lesson #3: Have a back-up job, join the Reserve and be passionate in what you do.

Coming back with the Seabee NMCB 40 straight to Spain for 8 months is when I met my future wife on America Online chat room. We discovered that we have many things in common & belief including being on the same university in the same building – who knows if I bumped into her back in late 88. We continue our texting love affair while I was in Spain when 9-11 happens and so our wedding plans to come home to the Philippines was cancelled and just decided to bring her to the US.

Lesson #4: Social networking such as eHarmony.com works, use the good (not the evil) of technology in improving your work & life.

I got married with her a week after I picked her up from LAX while I was in Navy Counselor “A” school in San Diego. She stayed in my lodging for about a week. We had a simple wedding in a church in San Diego with after reception tour honeymoon in San Diego Animal Park. I got orders to VAW 116 back to Point Mugu as my first Navy Counselor tour. My Son Samuel came about that time three months before my 8 month deployment with USS Lincoln. It was Myla’s most challenging ordeal being less than a year in the US left with my mom, my baby Sam. Considering she was also the OMBUDSMAN for my Squadron - she did a pretty damn well job than me. That is one great example of a Sailor’s wife sacrifice.

Lesson #5: Get or develop and network of friendship in your area outside your family & Navy community: church, school, community group in my wife’s case: local Chamber of Commerce, spouse group.

I was promoted to Chief one month after I checked-in with Naval Submarine Support Facility in Groton Connecticut. This is our first coast to coast move that became an exciting tradition for us to see the Americana – so far we did 4 coast to coast moves in 4 different routes.

Lesson 6: take advantage of the time given to you by the Navy and know your benefits to use it wisely. Enjoy the “ride” while you are in your job or transitioning.

Back to California as an ISIC with CVW-11 in Lemoore, CA for 4 years with one of the best deployment I had onboard USS Nimitz. Develop a different network of friends within central valley but we have to leave them again to go back to the East Coast – Norfolk Virginia with orders to Military Sealift Command (my last active duty tour).

I am so grateful to have earned the relationship of most of you here within this short period of 16 months living in Hampton Roads. With that in mind, we’ve decided two weeks ago to CLAIM that Virginia Beach is our official home now. In the past 15 years they ask where we are from we always claim California but now I have transitioned – after 23 years of constant moving, it’s time to close a chapter of my life.

This speech will continue online (my plans for the next 23 years & 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years) & hope to dialogue with you as I depart this great organization as I continue to seek guidance from your accumulated wisdom for those whose been there and done that. Considering I’ve been doing Pre-Separation counseling in the past 10 years, I need some transitioning counseling myself – it’s not easy. So help me God.

Now that I told my story, time to recognize how I got here & those who inspired me. To Myla - my wife of 10 years for unconditional love and patience. To my 9 year old Sam who takes care of mom & dad by being the best in school. I love you both. (Spontaneous and unscripted proposal and presenting of Vow certificate and ring & Sam’s surprise gift).

Mama & papa – sorry you couldn’t make it today because of your distance & situation. To my mama who is in California - thanks for those powerful prayers for me. To my papa living in the Philippines – thank you for teaching me to work hard and enjoy traveling & hiking in those dangerous places, PLEASE get well soon.

To my Navy mentors Ron, Dan, Curtis, Shaun, Butch, Ray, Glenn – sorry most of you couldn’t make it today – hope you read this transcript or “Liked it” on YouTube. All Military Sealift Command & Fleet Force & my Navy Counselors around the world – Thank you for the inspiration and your constant encouragement to move on. Stay in touch.

Most importantly to my Savior – I pray that you continue to give me and my family the strength and devotion to serve. Thank you for giving me angels like those who are here & across the world that couldn’t make it today. They kept me honest and focus; please keep it up and thank you Lord.

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