Originally from Alexander City, Alabama and joined the Navy in May 1989. I enjoyed anything that challenged me and even though I was on a scholarship to college it wasn’t what I wanted to do nor did it provide the challenge or adventure I was looking for. I grew up in a very active community that encouraged boys and girls to be their best, work hard, take chances, find adventures, and help others.
I then decided I was ready for my next adventure which I was told it would be hard for a woman. Needless to say the challenge was issued, so off I went to boot camp where I arrived in better shape than when I left. I was then sent onto Corry Station for Cryptologic Technician Administrative (CTA) school where I met friends I would see throughout my career all over the world.
I was told many times that I was in the perfect rating for a woman, but this never bothered me since I knew it’s not about being a male or female but how you do the job and treat others that matter. After completing school I received orders to NCS, Rota Spain from 1990 – 1994. There I worked with several different departments and learned about every type of CTA job there was. I also took advantage of the many areas to explore in my off time I camped, hiked, and traveled all over Spain and neighboring areas. During this tour I would ultimately meet my best friend and one day spouse CTRC(Ret) David French who was the only person I’d ever met who enjoyed everything I did and could put up and keep up with me.
Soon it was time for orders and by fate Dave and I both obtained orders back to Pensacola where I was assigned to the Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station and worked as the Commanding Officer’s writer from March 1994 to May 1997. This tour again led me to meet even more friends and as we say “Everyone comes back to Corry” I would often see friends from around the Globe pass through on their way to a new assignment. While in Pensacola we were active in many area beautification clean-up projects, home repairs for the elderly and always worked the community children’s projects.
It wasn’t long before I had received orders to Naval Security Group Activity Menwith Hill, England. This was the highlight of my Navy career since I knew this would be the tour where I could get valuable work experience and experience many travel adventures. I transferred to Menwith Hill from June 1997 to May 2000 as the Leading Petty Officer and Personnel Liaison Rep. I quickly became active with the command and community, I met many new friends and began to organize tours and adventures for the command, which took us through-out England, Ireland, Scotland, and France taking in as much of the culture and history as possible.
In the blink of an eye it was time to transfer so off to ONI Special Security Office at the Pentagon in June 2000, where I worked personnel and physical security until January 2001. Upon being selected to Chief Petty Officer I was told that I would have to transfer early, so they conveniently located me a few miles up the street to Naval Security Group Detachment Potomac, Maryland where I was assigned as the Administrative Department Head.
In March 2003, I reported to the ONI Special Security Office San Diego, California where I was assigned as the Leading Chief and Assistant Special Security Officer until March 2006. I then reported for my last assignment at ONI Special Security Office Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as the Leading Chief and Assistant Special Security Officer. During this tour the CTA Rating began to merge with the YN rating. It was now time for a new adventure so I retired and departed Hawaii in 2009. But my adventure was not over, I then followed my best friend CTRC(SW) Dave French back to Corry Station for his last tour. Two weeks after arrival I was called and asked if I wanted to report to Corry Station Admin which I accepted. A few months later I went to SSO, then gradually over the years moved to be the IWTC Corry Station SSO where I work with our young Sailors daily.
One thing that has never changed about our community is the people, you will never meet or work with a more professional, honest, and caring community. We are a family who work, play, and argue with each other, but we always come together to help our own and it has been an honor to work with all my military family past and present.
9 March 2023 at 01:13
Most interesting autobiographical sketch from Ms. French. (The “Ms” used here inasmuch as I’m not certain what rank she retired aside from Chief.) It’s folks like Ms./Chief French who make the United States Navy and our society as a whole what it is today.
Thank you for your long service in and out of uniform and thank your husband for his service, too.