Travis Doolin, a Craig local and Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy, left, the youngest member at the VFW Christmas dinner and Gaylord Fliece, the oldest member of the VFW, who also served in the Navy, cut the cake Monday night at the party. Taking a page from Marine Corps tradition, the two cut the cake together. Doolin was the guest of honor at the dinner.

Photo by Darian Warden

Travis Doolin, a Craig local and Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy, left, the youngest member at the VFW Christmas dinner and Gaylord Fliece, the oldest member of the VFW, who also served in the Navy, cut the cake Monday night at the party. Taking a page from Marine Corps tradition, the two cut the cake together. Doolin was the guest of honor at the dinner.

Chief Petty Officer Travis Doolin honored at VFW Christmas Dinner

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Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy Travis Doolin, left, and his wife, Tisha Doolin, pose for a picture Monday night at the VFW Christmas dinner, where Doolin was the guest of honor.

Quotable

“It’s very fulfilling. I get to look out for a lot of people.”

Chief Petty Officer Travis Doolin, a Craig Native, about his career in the United States Navy

Chief Petty Officer Travis Doolin of the United States Navy, a Craig native, returned home last week to spend the holidays with his family.

Travis attended the annual VFW Christmas dinner Monday as the guest of honor, where he received recognition for his quick rise through the ranks after enlisting in the Navy ten years ago.

“He flew up the ranks,” VFW commander Guy Bradshaw said addressing those at the dinner. “That’s one hell of an achievement.”

Travis was advanced to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in September during a pinning ceremony, following a six-week induction process unique to the Navy.

Penny Doolin, Travis’s mother, said his enlistment ten years ago came as a surprise.

Home for the summer from college and working at 20 Mile mine, Penny said her son took a nap, woke up and said he was enlisting in the Navy.

“That’s the first I’d heard of it,” Penny said. “I was shocked but thrilled.”

Travis even said he had gotten a call from a recruiter a few months earlier and declined.

Travis attended basic training at Recruit Training Command in Illinois, apprentice school in Florida, graduated ‘A’ school and was assigned to the “Legendary Black Knights,” Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron FOUR (HS-4) in California.

Travis worked as a structural mechanic technician on the H-60 Seahawk helicopter, became an instructor at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit and was placed in charge of the management and development of 90 percent of the Navy’s H-60 curriculum.

In March 2012, Travis boarded the “Battle Cats,” Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN THREE (HSM-73) as the Airframes shop Leading Petty Officer. He now works as the Airframes branch Chief Petty Officer, where he manages squadron productivity, multiple collateral duties and personnel and administrative issues within the command.

Travis has completed five Western Pacific deployments, with special deployments to the Philippines and Bashra, Iraq.

Travis also has received numerous awards during his tenure with the Navy.

“I support him,” said Travis’s wife, Tisha Doolin. “It’s a good and respectable career.”

The couple lives in California, where Travis is stationed.

Although he works long days, leaving around 6 a.m. and not returning until 10 or 11 p.m., and Tisha will attest to that, Travis said he loves what he does.

“It’s very fulfilling,” Travis said. “I get to look out for a lot of people.”

Travis said it took a lot of work to get where he is today, adding it takes a lot of hard work to get anywhere, but said it also included a good portion of being in the right place at the right time.

The VFW Christmas dinner was the right place and right time for Craig community members to recognize and express their thanks to Travis for his commitment and service to the country.

As they left after dinner, each vet shook hands with Travis and swapped stories, wishing him safety and luck in his endeavors.

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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