Retired Marine shares life’s lesson with high school cadets
By Bill Tamburrino
Ramona High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets learned a valuable lesson from a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer recently.
“No matter what the job do your best until you find a job you really like,” retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Mike Naylor said. “When you find a job you really enjoy, then you don’t have a job. You have a career.”
Naylor used his life as an example. He was raised on a farm in a small town in Pennsylvania and did well in school. He attended Pennsylvania State University and earned a degree in dairy science.
Then he met his match — an incorrigible cow, he said. “That cow must have been double-jointed,” he said. “She could kick me no matter where I positioned myself when I tried to milk her. I told my boss at the dairy that he had to get rid of that cow or me. He got rid of me. No matter how bad the job, there is always somebody willing to do it if you aren’t.”
Naylor visited an Air Force recruiter’s office, where he applied to be a pilot.
“They told me I would have to wait six months because all of their pilots’ spots were filled,” he said. “I didn’t even know that the Marine Corps had planes until I walked by the recruiter’s office and on my way out saw a recruiting poster about Marine pilots.
“I joined and went through OCS (Officer Candidates School), the basic school and flight training, and I had a career instead of a job.”
Naylor spent approximately 30 years in the Marine Corps. He went from milking cows to flying the president of the United States. He flew Marine One for former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He was a test pilot for the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. He flew CH-46 helicopters, the F118 and several other military aircraft.
He trained pilots and as deputy commander of Marine Corps Installations West, he supervised all supporting activities on the seven West Coast Marine bases.
Naylor is now vice president of Plans and Strategy for PKL Services Inc., a Poway company that provides global aviation maintenance and logistics services.
“I was a financial planner for a while after I left the Marine Corps, but I decided that I wanted something that better suited my experience and training,” he said. “Right now I have another career instead of a job.”
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