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Contributions from Jake Spivey, PT at Vista Physical Therapy. 

In what branch of the military did you serve and when?

US Navy: 01/06/1983 through 12/25/1986
US Navy Reserves: 02/27/1988 through 11/16/1996

Tell us about your career - including opportunities/milestones leading up to your current role

My active-duty assignment after boot camp and A School training was aboard the USS Doyle, FFG 39. My job as an Operation Specialist worked in the Combat Information Center (CIC) where a team of sailors operated radar for surface and air contact tracking, sonar for submarine tracking, electronic warfare, and weapon system management. All these teams worked together for safe passage of the ship at sea, and to create contingency plans for situations that occur in the theater of operations wherever you may be.

Our ship operated out of Mayport Florida to work up and down the east coast, the Caribbean, and North Atlantic as far north as Iceland. Major deployments were to the Mediterranean in conjunction with a task force to provide force presence with NATO and be prepared to help foreign embassies.

At the time we promoted peace through presence and participated in special events in Romania and Bastille Celebration in St. Maxime, France along with our normal assignment to the Mediterranean for 7 months.

I was discharged from Active duty after my first commitment and returned to the workforce as well as school. I joined the Navy Reserves and was assigned to Command Carrier Group 2 stationed in Bellchase Louisiana in support of an Admirals Staff. This required 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year of service to fulfill the obligation. I started my college career to pursue a BS degree in Physical Therapy. I managed the school, the reserves, and some work during this time in which I graduated from PT school from Southwest Texas State University in December of 1994.

How has your experience in the military prepared you for your current role?

My experience in the Navy shaped me into who I am today. I had the work ethic but the exposure to discipline, leadership, and teamwork all while traveling the US and the world opened my eyes to what was going on outside the boundaries of Austin Texas. I credit the diverse nature the military has in taking every walk of life and throwing them together to be able to operate as a team very efficiently and effectively.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role in PT?

I think most enter this field because we like to help others. I really enjoy being able to work with different people on the staff and the organization level but really enjoy establishing a solid relationship with patients as we help them and then get to know them. Physical Therapy allows for personal and professional development. I often am thankful for being in the position I am in based on where I was prior to entering the Navy.
What motivates and inspires you every day?
I have never really needed a carrot in front of me to keep me motivated, curiosity and always trying to learn more as well as a strong work ethic will take you wherever you want to go.

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, who is someone you appreciate/would like to recognize?

Peter S. Varsanyi, our Department Head on the USS Doyle. His work ethic, knowledge, and ability to drive the plan really impacted me more than I thought. There was no problem that couldn't be solved.

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