Local man receives Navy Achievement Award

United States Navy officer Andy Lang, pictured above at left, received the Navy Achievement Award for his work on information technology systems. Andy, a Northgate High School graduate, is a third generation Navy man.

When Andy Lang began thinking about joining the service, he couldn't decide among the Air Force, the Army or the Navy. Family lineage solved the problem for him.

After all, his grandfather Chuck Lang served in the Navy with a construction battalion in World War II, detonating coral on Tinian, a South Pacific island where airstrips were built. Airstrips from which planes flew bombing missions that dropped the atom bombs on Japan.

And his father, Chuck, stationed on a communications relay ship in the Tonkin Gulf, served as a machinist in the Navy during Vietnam.

By the time Andy graduated from Northgate High School in 2004, he had decided -- not surprisingly -- to go Navy.

"I have always looked up to my father and I think we all want to make our parents proud. Basically, college wasn't really the best option for me at the time, and the Navy just made sense," Andy said.

After five years in the service, Andy has made good on making his parents proud. Ranked as an E-5 IE Second Class Petty Officer, he recently earned a Navy Achievement Award, presented last month, for innovations in his assigned area of information technology focusing on radio transmissions.

"All voice communications comes through systems I maintain," Andy said.

He set up a local area network because, as he explained, "The military is big on redundancy. They couldn't depend on one system, so I created a second system, a back-up.

Stationed at Jacksonville, FL aboard the frigate the Samuel B. Roberts, Andy, who turned 25 in June, typically puts in 12-hour days.

His dad noted that his son had "…put lots of his own time into it [the new system]. That's what he got the award for."

Andy said that he received all of his technology education in the Navy. "I've been doing this for five years now. I had some military training, but lots of it was hands-on training.

While many of his current skills have been self-taught, he credits his years as a student at Northgate where he "…learned life lessons from great teachers.”

"I learned responsibility and discipline from them, and that helped me get through boot camp and training. It helped me to be effective and productive in the Navy."

Remembering Andy, choral director Kelly Winovioch said, "Andy was a member of the concert choir and also part of the cast of the Gene Kelly Award-winning "The Pajama Game" of 2003. I am glad to hear of his success and wish him the very best."

Married to his wife, Jennifer, last August, Andy soon will be stationed in Maryland where he will attend school for two months, and then be stationed at Fort Meade, where he will work with computers.

His service selection obviously the right choice, Andy describes the Navy as "…a challenging, fast-paced way of life."

His travels offer proof of that pace. In addition to Florida, he has lived in Chicago, Norfolk and Spain, and has served in two deployments to the Persian Gulf, as well as one to Africa and one to the Caribbean,

"The life experience" is the best of serving in the Navy, according to Andy. "There are people from every walk of life and from every state in the nation. You figure out who you are and what you want to do. You make what you want out of it."

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