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It is said that adversity breeds strength and excellence; for Construction Electrician (CE) 1st Class Garret J. Price, from Tucson, Arizona, one adverse moment changed his life and his career.
“I knew I wanted to go into the military, and my top choice was the Air Force,” said Price. “I was a firefighter in the Air Force for a couple of years, and then one night I was caught underage drinking,” said Price. “I was discharged, but I still wanted to serve my country and to travel, so I went to option number two - the Navy.”
Price said the incident shook him for a bit and he felt he had some growing up to do. Before he stepped into the Navy recruiting office he knew his past would need to be addressed in order to obtain a waiver. He was honest with the recruiter and let it be known he had learned his lesson and if given the chance he would shine in the Navy.
Price, now in the Navy for 12 years, feels his work transforming the Las Vegas area (Division 9 & 10) Navy Special Warfare Scout team led to his selection as Navy Recruiting District (NRD) San Diego Senior Sailor of the Quarter for the fourth quarter fiscal year 2020.
“I took over as special warfare recruiter at the beginning of the year,” said Price. “The number of candidates was pretty low coming from Las Vegas. Now our numbers are great. We are averaging five contracts a month.”
NRD San Diego Command Master Chief Michael Noullet praised Price.
"Petty Officer Price performed his job as NSO/NSW Scout for Las Vegas in exemplary and highly professional manner," said Noullet. "He demonstrated the ability to take on demanding tasks and produce nothing but exceptional results. He represents the Navy Core Values and exemplifies outstanding leadership and superior performance going above and beyond his assigned job."
Price’s experience in the U.S. Air Force allows him to talk to potential recruits about how the services compare side-by-side.
“I am able to tell of my time in both services and to talk about all the places the Navy has sent me - 29 countries - and my experiences,” said Price. “For those without a plan, the Navy offers great benefits and travel. Even if they get out after four years, they will have had four years of work experience, as well as having veteran’s benefits for the rest of their life.”
Travel was something the Tucson native wanted and the Navy went above and beyond to make it happen.
“I was first sent to San Diego to work doing amphibious ship repairs. While there, I was sent twice to Iraq on IA (Individual Augmentee) orders working with SEAL Teams 5 and 7 to work on the camp’s electrical grids, making sure they stayed up and humming,” said Price. “Then I was sent to Sigonella, Italy, where I was selected to be part of the Department of State diplomatic team, traveling to embassies all over the world working on security systems.”
The Navy gave Price many travel options, but he knew he would be getting out some day so he wanted something to fall back on after the service.
“I told my recruiter to look for jobs that didn’t require much sea time, and he told me about the Seabees,” quipped Price. “I looked at the Seabee rates and Construction Electrician jumped out at me. I thought even if I get out after my enlistment, I’ll have a trade to fall back on. I am thankful I chose CE because now I can wire my whole house. I don’t need to call an electrician, I am one.”
NRD San Diego Chief Recruiter Master Chief Navy Career Counselor Jayson N. Whalen said, "CE1 is an inspiring motivator and leader. He doesn’t make excuses for why the mission can’t be accomplished - his grit and determination always gets it done. He turned Las Vegas around and leads a very successful NSW/NSO program."
As a special warfare recruiter, Price focuses on helping the recruits get into shape and get contracts in whatever special warfare community they want to go into.
“All of the men and women I work with are already in DEP (Delayed Entry Program), so I am tasked with getting them physically and mentally ready for the Physical Screening Test,” said Price. “There are currently 18 in the boat crew and 11 have contracts and are waiting to ship off to boot camp. I have yet to have a woman get a contract, but there are a few who are vying to become Navy Aviation Rescue Swimmers who have shown promise. I am always looking for those who want something more of life than the average person.”
Established January 1975, NRD San Diego encompasses 210,000 square miles covering Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California. Headquartered at Naval Base Point Loma, NRD San Diego has more than 50 recruiting stations in the tri-state region and employs more than 300 recruiters, support personnel and civilians.
For more news from NRD San Diego, visit www.dvidshub.net/unit/NRD-SanDiego or www.facebook.com/nrdsandiego. Follow NRD San Diego on Facebook, Twitter (@NRD_SanDiego) and Instagram (@nrdsandiego).