Charlies Stinson, Proud Navy Veteran

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Meat the Vet: Charlie Stinson
Proudly Presented by Ebner’s Meat

Charlie Stinson grew up in a military household. His father fought in the Army during WWII. It wasn’t necessarily his life’s ambition to follow in his father’s footsteps, but while he was in college, the Vietnam War started and the draft was employed. As chance would have it, he was in the process of transferring schools and had lost his student deferment. So, rather than waiting to be drafted, he proactively enlisted. That way he could choose which branch of the military he would enter. He chose the Navy.

He was studying atomic energy and physics in college, so he specifically chose to enter the nuclear division of the Navy. Following bootcamp, he entered Machinist Mate School, then went on to Nuclear Power School where he completed six months of classroom training as well as six months of fieldwork testing prototypes. Taking advantage of the opportunity, he applied for a Navy scholarship program and ended up going to the University of Colorado to complete his degree in applied mathematics.

Even with all of that schooling under his belt, he next went to Officer Candidate School and, upon graduation, was commissioned as an Ensign. But his studies didn’t end there. Next, he was sent to Damage Control School, and then finally assigned to his first tour of duty on the USS Pyro (AE-24). The USS Pyro was an ammunition ship that carried upwards of 5,000 tons of munitions and guided missiles to transfer to other warships in “underway replenishment” details. While on the USS Pyro, Charlie was deployed to the Western Pacific multiple times. Returning to the U.S. in 1976, he married Denise, a woman he met while stationed at Concord Naval Weapon Station, and who is his life partner to this day.

In 1977, he was transferred to a commissioning crew aboard the brand new Spruance-class destroyer, the USS Merrill. As standard protocol for new ships, the crew was tasked with spending the vast majority of that first year at sea inspecting and testing all of the onboard systems. And in August of 1978, Charlie resigned his commission in the Navy.

Reflecting back on his time in service, Charlie had nothing but positive things to say. He is proud to have served his country, he served it well, and it ended up being a mutually beneficial relationship — his experience set him on course for a second career lasting 32 years, with NW Natural. Starting out as a special projects engineer, he later retrained and became licensed as a Petroleum Engineer. But, as Charlie said, that’s a whole different story!

Charlie is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy. Next time you see him in town, be sure to thank him for his service!