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 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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

23 Years of Navy Chief Astro's History (Yesterday is History by Matthew West)

It's been a bad day
You've been looking back
And all you can see is everything you wish you could take back
All your mistakes
A world of regrets
All of those moments you would rather forget
I know it's hard to believe Let me refresh your memory

Yesterday is history And history is miles away
So, leave it all behind you
But let it always remind you of the day
The day that love made history

You know you can't stay right where you fell
The hardest part is forgiving yourself
But let's take a walk into today
And don't let your past get in the way

Would you believe that you are history in the making, in the making?
Every choice that you are making
Every step that you are taking
Every chain that you are breaking
History is in the making
Every word that you are saying
Every prayer that you are praying
Every chain that you are breaking
History is in the making
History is in the making
History is in the making

(Matthew West - History)

Navy History of Assignments of Chief Tony Astro

Navy Career Counselor Chief Lazaro “Tony” Astro, United States Navy Chief Astro joined the Navy in 1991 through Subic Bay, Philippines and graduated from Boot camp at Naval Training Center San Diego. He completed the Airman Apprenticeship Training in April 1991 and was then stationed to USS INDEPENDENCE (CV 61) homeported in Yokosuka Japan.

He completed his Personnelmen “A” School in Meridian Mississippi in 1993. He continued his tour with CV 61 in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. After his forward deployed overseas tour he reported to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FIVE (NMCB FIVE) homeported in Port Hueneme California in 1994. After his tour with the Seabees he reported to Personnel Support Detachment Point Mugu and Ventura County in 1996 and was awarded the Sailor of the Year in 1998. Halfway through his Navy tour, he took a break from active duty and joined Selective Reserve in 2000 with Active Duty Special Work tour in CINCUSNAVEUR in London.

He came back Active Duty in 2001 and deployed with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FORTY (NMCB 40) in support of Operation Southern Watch where he was promoted to First Class Petty Officer and earned his Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist. He was selected to convert to Navy Career Counselor. His first job as Command Career Counselor after completing his training in San Diego was with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE ONE SIX (VAW 116) in 2003 and was designated Aviation Warfare Specialist while deployed onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) in support of Unified Assistance.

He was promoted to Chief Petty Officer after a few months upon reporting to Submarine Support Facility Groton Connecticut in 2005. He was elected as the first Navy Counselor’s Association President for New England chapter in 2006 and then reelected in 2007. After completion of his tour with the submarine and nuclear community that earned Golden Anchor Award 2 years in a row, he received his next set of orders to report to Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN (CVW 11) in 2008 as the Immediate Superior-in-Command for 8 Nimitz Group Airwing Squadrons deployed onboard USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). He earned his Surface Warfare Specialist while deployed in support of Global War on Terrorism in 2010.

He left California and assumed duties as the Type Commander Navy Counselor to Military Sealift Command (MSC) in Norfolk Virginia in 2012.

He is married to the former Myla Rilloraza of Manila Philippines and they have a 9 year old son Samuel Fredrick. They reside in Virginia Beach, VA.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What I am Thankful for the Navy in 23 years by Chief Astro

1.                   Declining a job at Philippine National Bank & join the Navy in Subic when my dad ask me if I wanted to earn $ or ₱.
2.                   My tour in USS Independence forward deploy in Japan and live there for 4 years and see the cultures of Asia & Australia.
3.                   My tour with PSD Ventura County & met the most professional civilians & military personnel.
4.                   Met my wife and thanks to the Seabees, supporting me in communicating with her long distance while deployed via text & phone booth in mosquito infested Puerto Rico.
5.                   Married while I was in NC “A” School in San Diego.  Honeymoon in Gateway Inn.
6.                   My son was born under Tri-Care. 
7.                   My tour in USS Lincoln in Point Mugu and one of my best tours deployed with the Sun Kings.  Reenlisted in Tsunami area.
8.                   Able to take a break as a Naval Reserve and work with American Express (again) & join the Air Force Chaplain Reserve.
9.                   Living in Oxnard & Lemoore California for almost 18 years and earn great network of friendships.
10.               Living in Groton Connecticut for almost 3 years and met my neighbors & friends that develop through the years.  No thanks to snow shoveling.
11.               My first tour as Chief in Groton and working with Nukes and Submarine personnel.  Best!
12.               Living in Norfolk, Virginia for two years and met most of you that is here.  Now, I’ve decided to stick to Virginia Beach as my new home.
13.               My tour in London and able to see France, Ireland, Amsterdam & Brussels.  Thanks to the Reserve ADT opportunity.
14.               My tours in Spain & Puerto Rico with the Seabees and see Madrid, Rome, Gibraltar, San Juan.  
15.               AMC Flight in Hawaii, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and bring my family to see the world.   Never get bumped even on peak summer.
16.               My tour in USS Nimitz and able to meet the best Chief community & camaraderie & enjoy the best of Asia for the last time:  Thailand, Malaysia, Hongkong, Dubai, Hawaii, Bahrain.
17.               Able to experience living in housing after a long time being a home owner was a blessing.
18.               Benefits in PCS as we were able to transfer coast-to-coast (From CA to CT to CA to VA) 4 times and able to see 90% of the best of United States.  Travel Tip:  Road Trip = PCS Season.
19.               Able to bring my dad onboard USS Independence even though he will not be able to travel from the Philippines to make it on my retirement ceremony - he remains very proud of me.  Get well soon papa sorry you could not make it to my ceremony.
20.               Be able to know that my mom Elena in Camarillo California be able to see this retirement ceremony through YouTube & she is proud of me.
21.               Be able to stay healthy through Navy’s discipline and pay the bills & finally joining the best brotherhood of Chiefs Mess.
22.               Able to complete my College, Masters & now 1 Dissertation away to PhD using the Navy’s Tuition Assistance & some GI Bill money.
23.               Be able to know that I am not alone and there is a Shipmate out there who cared and understands every situation because they’ve been there & done that.

23 Things I'd Like to Do in the next 23 months after 23 Years in the Navy

23 Things I'd Like to Do in the next 23 months after 23 Years in the Navy

1.       Become a game show contestant (Family Feud).

2.       Travel this summer to Europe, Philippines & Asia.

3.       Visit my mom & dad more often.

4.       Spend more "homework" time with Sam and "housework" with Myla.

5.       Watch the Sunset, Hear the Shore & Feel the Sand with family at least twice a week from our new home.

6.       Travel to at least 25 of the "1,000 Places to See Before you Die".

7.       Continue to attend the 4th & 5th year top "A" honor roll for my Sam.

8.       Lose 23 kilos.

9.       Make a positive difference to the community or at least 23 people.

10.   To teach Sociology, Counseling & Geography in a University.

11.   Get my black belt in Jujitsu.

12.   Speak more fluent Spanish & Chinese.

13.   Mentor 23 Veterans.

14.   Reach $25,000 profit in our MVOSS Creation business.

15.   Get some of my photography published or recognized.

16.   Finally use my guitar and learn to play it well.

17.   Conduct 25 community relations or outreach for Veterans, non-profit organization.

18.   Establish MVOSS Creations as establish Online & Social network advertising and consulting company.

19.   Establish a foundation through our profits and earnings or "giving back".

20.   Be more pro-active with community, church and contacts (Career Counselors) on my own time.

21.   Complete my Dissertation "Career Counseling using Social Media" through Capella.

22.   Take advantage of my Veteran benefits for quality of life improvement.

23.   Stay connected with my past and new network.

23 Years - The Retirement Program for Navy Counselor Chief Astro: April 25, 2014

Featured Post