Military Spotlight

Gary Marsh has twenty years experience that started in 1987. Boot camp started for me on December 27, 1987 in Great Lakes. I went from a relatively warm climate to below freezing and that was an amazing eye opener. I finished boot camp and went to Lakehurst New Jersey to attend Aircrew Survival Equipment Technician School for 13 weeks. I graduated 3 in my class of 13 and was the only person to get sea duty orders. All the other classmates wanted the easy life I guess shore duty offers. I joined the Navy to see the world and boy did I see the world!

I had some time between A-school and my first duty station to stop by my parents home and get my car and drive to NAS Whidbey Island, Washington and check in to VAQ-137 to start a career as a parachute rigger. You can see the details below.

My first four years I completed two deployments (West Pacs) on the USS Ranger and saw so many countries, it hooked me to the lifestyle of traveling the world. My next set of orders took me to the Desert Navy in China Lake, California. There I worked along side many Admirals and Generals from multiple countries. I signed up to participate in the auxiliary security force and participated in the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. What an eye opener that was! It was here that I was introduced to rock climbing, repelling and mountain biking. China Lake is where I finally got serious about my career in the navy and I advanced to E-5.

After four years in China Lake, I received new orders back to NAS Whidbey Island, WA as a Sea Operational Detachment Supervisor. This four year tour was the toughest on my family life. The first two years, I had 56 days at home the first and 68 the second year. The third year was quite a bit better and I became the Leading Petty Officer for the Paraloft which put me in charge of 230 AME’s and PR’s! But before that, I want to mention my advancement to E-6 on the Carl Vinson. The last cruise I did, I received my Air Warfare Specialist Wings, two navy achievement medals and had a great commanding officer on the cruise!

Let me give you a bit of back history here: My CO in VA-145 that I did not mention was a man name Darby Starling. When we were in VAQ-145 together, he went on a routine flight that was anything but routine! His aircraft had primary hydraulic system failure, secondary failure too and ended up ejecting over the Puget Sound. Peter Hunt talks about the whole story at his website: He was another officer in our squadron who really had a driving desire to locate the aircraft! Anyway, all the equipment he utilized (parachute, survival equipment, etc.) was packed and taken care of by yours truly. We had a special bond after that and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to be responsible for someone being able to survive such a traumatic event. I’m pretty sure that it was at this moment I became a safety man!

Okay, back to my cruise that established me as a leader in the PR community. When I finished this deployment, I had connections throughout the community that eventually helped me to land my all time favorite job at EOD-MU11! I still had two years remaining at the paraloft and I was committed to being the best LPO ever. It was during this time that the loft experienced our greatest production and set the standard for all others to try and follow. We pumped out tons of completed jobs each week and with all that work, we still had plenty of time to keep things fun and safe. Our efficiency rating was at 98.2%! This led me to a guy named Leon Ford and he was the most decorated jumper in the military with over 10,000 military jumps.

Leon was standing up a paraloft at EOD-MU11 and while the space was being created, he needed a space to pack chutes. I entrusted him and his three man team to use the parafloft at night. It was the start of a friendship that is as strong as ever today. I was at the mid point in my career and was actually thinking about getting out of the navy and pursue civilian life. I couldn’t get to special operations do to being in a very small community that could not transfer to other ratings. Leon found out I was planning on getting out and he pulled strings to get me to the mobile unit to run the air operations program as a special operations parachute rigger. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity and what a job that was!

I ended up getting my jump wings which was a big deal in the PR community. Not only did I get my wings, but I also became a jump master, HURST master and CAST master. Basically, I could teach people to rappel, fast rope and SPIE rope out of Helicopters. It was awesome! SPIE is when you have a team all hook up to a rope as the helo picks them up and extracts them from an operation. I also became a communications and aircraft load master. I can load just about any aircraft the Air Force had to offer. My time with MU11 came to an end and I had to go back to reality navy. That’s when I became a flight physiology and water survival instructor. I became a master training specialist and was qualified to teach all courses in the navy physiology program.

It was Here at water survival that I realized my career in the navy will end. I had to make a decision: continue to try achieving E-7 status or go to college. I chose to go back to school and get my college degree. Best decision I made bar none! And that is just a short little snapshot of my military career. It was a great way to spend 20 years and the experience I gained is second to none! Below is a list of my job (resume) descriptions. Check them out!


  • Human Performance in Extreme Environments
  • Casualty Response
  • Quality Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Assurance Inspector
  • Incident Response and Investigations
  • Training / Development Specialist
  • Hazardous Substance / Management
  • High Risk Operations

GARY MARSH – Details To My Jobs In The Navy:

Line Supervisor, ASTC NAS Whidbey Island; Oak Harbor, WA — 2003-2007

• Plan and supervise the day-to-day actions of nineteen survival instructors during high risk survival training for fleet aviation, ground forces, and selected joint service aircrew. Responsible for training 4,600 students annually.
• Team Leader in planning the opening of the navy’s newest aircrew water survival training facility two month’s ahead of schedule. This resulted in a 20% increase in training capability.
• Obtained master training specialist certification as a direct result of the complete revision of the units standard operations procedures manual. This change eliminated one man hour per flight equipment inspection which saved 1400 man hours per year.
• Qualifications Achieved: Master Training Specialist, Emergency Medical Technician, Command Career Counselor, and United States Navy Lifeguard.

Air Operations Supervisor, EODMU-11 NAS Whidbey Island, WA — 1999-2003

• As command senior air operations parachute rigger and quality assurance lead inspector, trained and outfitted 96 personnel in 100 high risk parachute and helicopter insertion/extraction operations with a 100% safety record.
• Responsible for the accountability, control, and maintenance of $950,000 inventory of life support and controlled equipage used to train and outfit seven mobile and three shore based explosive ordnance disposal teams. Managed operating/operational budgets totaling $250,000 to plan and execute all air operations.
• Qualifications Achieved: Quality Assurance Inspector, Joint Airdrop Load Inspector, Helicopter Rappel Suspension Master Trainer, Aircraft Load Planner, Tactical Communications Operator, Parachute Jumpmaster, and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation President, CAT 3 Crane Operator. Sea Operational Detachment and Production Supervisor

SEAOPDET, NAS Whidbey Island, WA — 1995-1999

• Sea Operation Detachment supervisor in charge of 28 personnel in all administrative matters on three different aircraft carriers: USS Eisenhower, USS Kennedy, and USS John C. Stennis. During each of the deployments, maintained night shift supervisor responsible for scheduled/unscheduled maintenance of five aviation life support technicians and three work centers.
• Shore based production supervisor in charge of 40 personnel in tracking and processing over 5,000 aviation life support assets achieving 98.2 percent mission readiness.
• Qualifications Achieved: Quality Assurance Inspector, Safety Officer, Non-Nuclear Explosive Ordnance Handler, Ordnance Quality Assurance Safety Officer, Command Career Counselor, Liquid Oxygen Filler/Operator, Nicolet 8220 Aviators Breathing Oxygen Contaminate Analyzer Operator/Maintainer, and Oxygen Generating Systems Technician.

Night Shift Line Supervisor, NWTC, China Lake, CA — 1992-1995

• Supervised two technicians in parachute loft and survival gear work centers; operated oxygen system component test stand and liquid oxygen converter equipment; operated test equipment for cartridge-actuated devices associated with parachute systems; inspect, clean, test, fit, adjust, and repaired 200+ sets of aircrew protective equipment with a 100% safe for flight record.
• Directly responsible for our team receiving zero discrepancies on all annual safety and technical inspections.
• Directly involved in the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty as an auxiliary security force member assigned as security and liaison to the Russian inspectors over a 28 day period.
• Qualifications Achieved: Collateral Duty Inspector, Expert Pistol, Rifle, and Shotgun Marksman, and PR-24 Police Baton

Aircrew Survival Equipment Technician, VA-145, Oak Harbor, WA — 1989-1992

• Constructed, modified, and repaired aircrew survival and associated equipment; repaired oxygen breathing regulators, emergency oxygen systems, and liquid oxygen converters and components.
• Maintain carbon dioxide recharge equipment; maintained test equipment for cartridge-actuated devices associated with parachute systems.
• Maintained technical publications and directives, prepared weekly schedules of first line maintenance; inventories, orders, and turned in equipment, spare parts, and materials; troubleshoot and repair sewing machine malfunctions.
• Qualifications achieved: Collateral Duty Inspector for aviation life support equipage, and Aircraft Weapons Monitor and Release Technician.

Aircrew Survival Equipment Technician, VAQ-137, Oak Harbor, WA — 1988-1989

• Assisted in the maintenance of aircraft, associated aeronautical equipment, and aircraft support equipment; service, clean and handles aircraft as well as performed other apprentice-level duties involved in the operation of naval aircraft afloat and ashore.
• Qualifications achieved: Shipboard fire fighting, damage control technician, and corrosion control technician.



Master Training Specialist,


Secret (Inactive) 2017

Interview Gary Marsh