Naval Security Group Activity, FT Meade, Maryland October 1984-August 1985

NSGA FT Meade Patch on EBAY

I was not enamored with my transfer to the Washington, DC area. I knew it was the hub of politics and more expensive than other duty stations.

When I checked into the command, I learned that though assigned to NSGA, FT Meade, I would work within one of the NSA Groups. The command assignment officer assigned most enlisted to groups doing direct support. A senior Chief Petty Officer Cryptologic Maintenance Technician and Navy enlisted code for AN/UYK-3 would mark me as an anomaly in a direct support organization.

The assignment officer had other plans for me. He had called me in Panama and asked if he could experiment with my assignment. I continued to agree, and he selected several NSA groups for me to interview with. He wanted one to ask for me.

NSA at FT Meade Patch on EBAY

I remember having several interviews that described jobs I thought would lead to boredom. It wasn’t until I interviewed with a C-Group GS-15 that I felt I found a job that would be challenging and rewarding.

C-Group was also the National Computer Security Center (NCSC), recently established under President Reagan’s direction. I interviewed in an office in OPS 1, but he told me the organization was moving to Airport Square 11 shortly.

I would not be directly working for the GS-15. As the only enlisted in my group, C-3,  I would report to an Air Force Major, though my task remained the same.

I would create two new computer laboratories in the new building. One was for classified computer systems, and the other was for unclassified computers. Part of the challenge was identifying the power and air conditioning requirements for the group’s computers and those they intended to procure soon. Without saying, I became excited with the prospect and committed to the position.

I had the list of equipment owned by the group and began creating the power and air conditioning requirements. Then, I received a list of known future systems that required modifying the requirements. We gave NSA Public Works my list, and they provided a schedule for completing the work.

While Public Works installed the power busses under a raised floor, I created the layout for the computer systems. I also designed the offices that the computer staff would use. Finally, I worked with the NSA on the communications interfaces.

The classified computers would be available via network connections to the computer scientists working on the second and third floors. The unclassified computers are connected to a phone bank, allowing people to call and connect. With plans firmed and work underway, it was August and time for me to leave for Pensacola. More on this later.

I came to NSGA FT Meade unaccompanied. Lori and the children stayed with her parents while I waited for housing. It would become fascinating.

I arrived at the command as a Chief Petty Officer (CPO E-7.) I was placed on the housing list reflecting this. Then, word came of my selection to Warrant Officer with promotion on August 1, 1985. The housing office staff were now in a quandary.

Should they assign me a house based on my current rank of E-7 or one for a junior officer? I would barely settle into the first before they would move me to the latter. I petitioned for the latter, not wanting to move twice, and they placed me on the junior officer housing list.

I took leave at Christmas time and drove to Texas to bring the family to Maryland to stay with friends from Panama until the quarters were ready. It allowed DJ and Tiffany to start school in January.

We moved into quarters in junior officer housing. We were the only enlisted family in this group of quarters. Most of our neighbors accepted us without reservation. However, another was upset with the presence of an “enlisted” living in officer territory. Lori and I ignored them and basked in the acceptance of the others. We settled into life at FT Meade, and the days passed.

It was 1985. The president had commissioned all Navy Chief Warrant Officers 2- 4 for many years. However, the Secretary of the Army gave Army warrant officers warrants. It created issues since a presidential commissioned warrant would be senior to a warranted officer regardless of service branch. In 1986, the laws changed so that all warrants, regardless of service branch, were commissioned as they created an additional warrant rank, Chief Warrant Officer 5’s.

The detailer responsible for junior officer assignments contacted me. He wanted my assignment preferences once commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer 2. I stated I wanted to remain in my present position.

The Navy’s policy was to relocate individuals when newly commissioned. The reason was the person commissioned would now be senior to those they had worked for. The person taking orders would now be giving them. This situation could cause issues for the new officer and their now subordinates.

I, and the command assignment officer, assured the Navy detailer that there would not be this problem for me. I was the only enlisted member in the entire C-Group at that time. Also, the C-3 director submitted a by-name request for me to return. Considering these inputs, the detailer agreed I would return to my position after completing the US Navy’s Limited Duty Officer (LDO)/Chief Warrant Officer Indoctrination Course (CWO) in Pensacola, Florida.

My commissioning ceremony to Chief Warrant Officer 2 was on August 1, 1985. My wife, children, and several of my neighbors witnessed the ceremony.

The car packed, and we set off on another adventure.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top
Subscribe to Blog

Subscribe to Blog