Steve Jauregui joined the Navy as a young Seaman in 1942. His career spanning nearly 30 years took him to WWII duty in the Pacific, through the Cold War, and ultimately a commission and leadership of one of SECGRU’s premier programs. His success in shepherding WATERBOY (submarine WLR-6) through a maze of technical and programmatic obstacles was legendary and well documented in William Hadley’s series. But few outside SECGRU’s small engineering community know that after retiring from the Navy in 1970, he went on to an equally impressive second career.
Having taken advantage of the Navy’s many educational opportunities throughout his career, Dr. Jauregui had earned a PhD by retirement time. He was soon offered an electrical engineering professorship at the prestigious Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. After war time service and an arduous career with many deployments, he could have easily down shifted to enjoy the Monterey Peninsula. His office could have become that of the stereotypical university professor – a small cubbyhole piled high with obscure research papers and an atmosphere bordering on the narcoleptic. But that wasn’t Steve Jauregui.
Professor Jauregui arrived at the PG School in the midst of a Cold War expansion of SECGRU’s shore sites and mobile platforms. He got right to work using his background and newly minted professorship to help make that buildout a success. His academic group addressed technical challenges reported from the field and formed deployable teams for site assistance visits. He directed thesis student efforts toward future systems development. Some produced landmark research on ionospheric propagation modeling and HF DF algorithms. Others worked with NAVELEX on the development of afloat systems like OUTBOARD.
By the mid 80s. Professors Dick Adler and Ray Vincent had joined Jauregui’s group and their spaces occupied the corner portion of Spanagel Hall’s second deck. The place was a beehive of activity with students huddled around the test benches and phones in the offices ringing with requests for assistance.
The next several years saw rapid growth in the number of personal computers and related hardware at many SECGRU activities. Much of the admin got easier, data bases became desktop searchable, and … lots of EMI blanketed much of the HF spectrum. Steve Jauregui’s group responded by creating the Signal to Noise Enhancement Program (SNEP). SNEP teams deployed to our field sites to isolate and resolve major EMI issues.
Being taught at the graduate level, Professor Jauregui’s courses were academically challenging. But he made sure to tie theory into practical knowledge we could take with us into the field. And he was good at lightening up all those equations in the classroom with the occasional humorous sea story. Here’s one I remember. Soon after enlisting in 1942, he was sent to a small Pacific island as a young Radioman. One evening the alarm sounded for an inbound Japanese air raid and all lights on the island were shut off. Glancing at the overhead in his transmitter hut, Jauregui immediately sensed a problem. Although power to his lights had been shut off, they were happily blinking along in time with the Morse code traffic flowing from his transmitters. Some of the RF was getting into the wiring. One look at the pitch blackness outside told him that he had suddenly become the island’s only source of light with Japanese bombers inbound. He removed those bulbs from their sockets in record time.
Professor Jauregui retired after 20 years at the Postgraduate School. Unlike many professors who focused on “being published”, he never sought recognition for himself. His considerable energy was always directed behind the scenes toward solving technical problems at fleet and national level and educating young grad students. Those of us who had the privilege of being his students remain forever grateful for his mentoring. Steve Jauregui passed away in 2004. His obituary was published in the Monterey Peninsula Herald:
By Jeff Fuller, with appreciation to Bill Hickey, Gus Lott, and John O’Dwyer for their inputs.