SURVICE Recognizes #MonthoftheMilitaryChild

Eric “Walt” Whiteman’s father served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1955 as an Interior Communications Specialist (IC) aboard ships achieving the rank of Petty Officer Second Class (E-5). Eric followed in his footsteps and served 22 years and 5 months in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Commander (O-5).

Eric expressed that his father “talked about his service and his belief in a need to serve, and I really think that is why I decided to take that path. I know that he was proud that I served and used to brag (too much) to his friends. I found his old uniforms and some pictures hidden away after he passed. At my U.S. Navy retirement, I had it placed in a separate shadow box and presented it to my sister.”

Eric is the father of four children, two of which decided to go into the military. He states his “biggest advice would be to remain flexible and affable. It is tough to have to move and make new friends. My other advice is to always listen to Mom (at least in our case) … I deployed for over six months on eight different occasions and, in each case, my wife Sue held down the fort.”

He also goes on to say, “I think it is also important to listen to your children so you can avoid any of the pitfalls that come with being the new kid at school. Thankfully, all of our sons were tall (6’3” – 6’5”) and were good athletes, so they usually fit in well. The other parental advice is don’t force your children to follow you into a life of military service. As I stated, two of my boys opted to do that and, of course, we are proud. But two did not, and I am just as proud of them – it is important to make sure they know that.”

Shout out to Eric, his father, and his family. Thank you for your service and thank you for sharing your story! We are proud to have you here at SURVICE!

Scroll to Top