Veteran Gary Lisman; a Seafarer’s Life on Shore

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Service, Purpose, and a Hollywood Dream

Veterans: “Meat” The Vet Gary Lisman
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By Dennis McNabb, Contributing Writer

Navy Veteran Gary Lisman is a man to be admired and respected for his service. He humbly admits to feeling unworthy of praise considering that his time was spent inhabiting a more supportive role on shore. Over the years, however, he has come to finally understand the significance of such roles. Hailing from a Norwegian seafaring family, Gary jokes that he is a salty old sea captain at heart. He simply never had the opportunity to leave shore!

He joined the Navy in 1964 with the intention of traveling the world. He attended bootcamp in San Diego and was then sent to Electronics Technician School at Treasure Island in San Francisco for a 40 week program. After graduating, Gary was transferred to the Naval Communications Station back in San Diego. He assumed, hoped he would be assigned to some sort of exotic port of call overseas, but the Navy had other ideas. Instead of hitting the open seas, he was sent to Cryptologic Technician School in Vallejo, California.

Cryptologic Technician School was an exciting time for Gary since the work he was doing was challenging, interesting, and highly classified. The position required that he help keep hundreds of extremely critical and extremely sensitive crypto machines running, but there were no opportunities to leave California. Ironically, he never would. While so many people view time served in the military as time away from home and loved ones, Gary viewed it as an opportunity for adventure. When, upon graduation, Gary was stationed back at San Diego as an onshore Cryptologic Technician, he was forced to concede he would never sail the open seas with the Navy.

Gary was honorably discharged in 1967. While it was initially difficult for him to reconcile his expectations with his actual experience in the military, he eventually came to recognize the importance of such supportive roles. He now feels a sense of pride about his accomplishments, not to mention, of course, the fact that he served his country. Gary credits the Navy with helping him to straighten out his life, find a sense of purpose, and garner the discipline necessary to find success in pursuing a career in Hollywood.

Next time you see Gary Lisman in town, thank him for his service. Then ask him to tell you about the time he met Admiral Nimitz (yes, that Admiral Nimitz)! He has some fantastic stories to tell!

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