“I was a junior in high school when I joined the United States Navy through the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) in April 1992. I left for boot camp on November 1, 1993. I was in for eight years — my end date was May 26, 2001. I did five years active and three years reserve. My job was in engineering. We worked on potable water, diesel engines, and took readings on nuclear reactors on the USS Kitty Hawk.
“I’ve been everywhere … Dubai; Bahrain; we were the last ship to go through the Panama Canal; Thailand; Hong Kong; Singapore; Perth and Sydney, Australia; Hawaii about a thousand times; the Bahamas; and Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan.
“For boot camp, I went to Great Lakes, Ill. from November 1993 to January 1994. Then from January 1994 to 1995, I went to 32nd Street in San Diego, Calif. Naval Station on board the USS Cape Cod AD-43. There I was a MMFN — a Machinist’s Mates Fireman. From ’95 to ’96 I was stationed at Point Loma on board TWR Narwhal 842 for the 11th Squadron and I became a MM3 a Machinist’s Mates 3rd Class. Then I got into the USS Kiddy Hawk in Coronado, Calif. from ’97-’98. I went to the Reserves in ’98 and became a NMCB-1323 through May 26, 2001. I got out because my mother got sick, otherwise I would’ve stayed in.”
Michael joined the METRO team in 2007 as a Bus Operator and now works as a Road Supervisor/Dispatcher. Growing up, Michael knew joining the armed forces was the path he wanted to take.
“My whole family was pretty much military. My grandfather was in the U.S. Army and I had a cousin who was the Senior Chief in the Navy … he actually flew me to Pensacola to show me how everything ran before I enlisted. I was there for about two months. I found it interesting and that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
“Being in the military made me who I am today — a good husband, a good father to my kids, and a good grandfather to my grandkids. It prepared me for real life and the job I have now. Being a leader. And, I’m a coach so it showed me how to have patience and to be a leader to the younger ones.
“Every Veteran’s Day, my wife makes me a steak with salad and a loaded baked potato. So, Sunday when I get off there will be a steak waiting for me. I get off (work) at 6 p.m. Monday so I’ll be able to go get my free meal.”