On this Veterans Day, the Norfolk Academy Military Appreciation Club pays tribute to everyone who has served our nation.
The NAMAC club works to highlight and thank current and former service members. One way this is typically done is on the school's Military Appreciation Night, when, during a football game, a large crowd honors the faculty/staff members who served.
Safety protocols are preventing large campus gatherings this school year. However, NAMAC students still wanted to honor the 17 faculty/staff members with military service. So, before Veterans Day, the students reached out to all 17, letting them provide biographical information and photos.
Here is NAMAC's tribute:
Mr. Larry McCarthy joined the New Jersey Army National Guard on November 30, 1971. From there, he was sent to the training base in Fort Dix, New Jersey, which was the same base his father had been sent to during World War II as a draftee. Serving for a total of six years in artillery support units, Mr. McCarthy served four years in the National Guard and his last two years in the Army Reserve. In 2003, he began his career as NA’s first strength and conditioning coach. He also teaches a Middle School Physical Education section on fitness and nutrition.
Mr. Joe Robinson joined the United States Army at the age of 17, receiving his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Fort Benning, Georgia, on an M1 Abrams tank. His duties included serving as a tank gunner, tank commander, and platoon Sergeant. Mr. Robinson joined the Norfolk Academy community in 1988, and he now serves NA as the Maintenance Manager.
Mr. Neil Duffy was assigned to Norfolk after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984. He served about five years as a Surface Warfare Officer aboard USS Fortify (MSO-446) and USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5). Mr. Duffy enjoyed having the honor to work with so many great sailors on those two ships, and he is also grateful for the opportunity to work with so many great students over the past 32 years as a teacher. “I could not be more fortunate – naval officer and teacher are incredible honors,” Mr. Duffy said. He initially worked at Norfolk Academy as a part-time lacrosse coach, while he was still on active duty. Since joining the faculty in 1994, he has taught physical science, algebra II, and physics. He has also coached a variety of sports, including boys basketball, football, boys lacrosse, and girls basketball. He also is the NAMAC faculty advisor.
During 20 years of service as an Intelligence Officer, Commander Woody Poole had the opportunity to work with countless dedicated sailors of all ranks. Amassing seven, six-month plus deployments on four different aircraft carriers provided him with an opportunity to operate in all of the oceans and many of the seas that encompass the globe. “Make no mistake, experiencing myriad cultures during port visits was wonderful, but working with so many dedicated shipmates, in good times or other, made it rewarding and oh so memorable,” Mr. Poole said. At NA, Mr. Poole said that he continues to have the opportunity to work with dedicated peers, staff, and students as both an eighth grade science teacher and middle school soccer coach.
Commander Martha Gentry`s Navy career took her all over the East Coast: Richmond, Virginia; Orlando, Florida; Meridian, Mississippi; Newport, Rhode Island; Washington, DC; Adams County, Pennsylvania; and Norfolk/Virginia Beach. During her 21.5 years of military service, Mrs. Gentry held various positions including Communications Officer, Admiral’s Aide, Administrative Officer, Logistics Officer, Security Officer, and Executive Officer. After serving 12 years Active Duty, she affiliated with the Naval Reserves and served another 10 years before retiring as a Commander. She came to Norfolk Academy when she was released from active duty right before affiliating with the reserves. She now serves as an Administrative Assistant for Fine Arts and Athletics.
Mr. Glenn Miller was an Aviation Machinist Mate with the rank of AD2. Deploying on the USS Independence (CV-62) and the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), his primary duties were working on the flight deck during flight operations. During his service, Mr. Miller also worked on F-14 Tomcats with VF-14, the Tophatters, the Navy's oldest squadron. Additionally, he deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, travelling above the Arctic Circle at one point and making many tours throughout this country. Now, Mr. Miller serves as a campus engineer, assisting with many aspects of campus life, particularly the heating and cooling systems of the school.
Mr. Roy Newton served as an AZ3 (Aviation Maintenance Administration man, 3rd Class) in the U.S. Navy from 1988-1992. He completed Boot Camp at Great Lakes, Illinois, and “A” School in Meridian, Mississippi. His assignments included aviation maintenance departments at Naval Air Stations (NAS) in Beeville, Texas (including as Commander’s Aide) and Miramar, California. He also served at Helicopter Support Squadron 11, NAS North Island in San Diego, California, and onboard USS Wichita with helicopter squadrons HC-4 and HC-11 in support of Law Enforcement Operations in the Southern Pacific Ocean. Mr. Newton now serves NA by assisting athletes in transportation to and from games as an Athletics Driver.
Commissioned May 5, 1994, at Vanderbilt University NROTC, Mr. Witt Borum went on that same month to attend Surface Warfare Officer`s School in Newport, Rhode Island. In December 1994, he reported to USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) as the Electronics Officer. He then went on to serve as the Main Propulsion Assistant and the Mechanical Division Officer. In June 1996, Mr. Borum reported to the USS Thunderbolt (PC-12) as a Weapons Officer, later serving as an Executive Officer. Reporting to Naval Special Warfare Group Two in summer 1998, he served as the staff Surface Welfare Liaison Officer and the SOUTHCOM Action Officer. He separated from active duty in June 2000 and reported to the Naval Reserves Special Boat Team 20, where he served for three years. In 2003, he separated from the reserves to focus on his teaching career and family, and coaching athletics at NA.
In January 1979, after graduating from James Madison University, Lt. Commander Bob Needham attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, receiving his commission in May. He then attended the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia, where upon his graduation he was assigned to the USS Nashville (LPD-13). He served as an Assistant Supply Officer on board until March 1982. His next billet was as Executive Officer of the Personnel Support Detachment and Disbursing Officer of NAS Meridian, Mississippi. He completed his active duty in June 1983, and returned home to Virginia Beach to continue his career in the Navy Reserves. After working Summer Programs and coaching NA varsity football in 1984, he began working fulltime as a Lower School P.E. teacher in fall 1985. Over the years he has coached many sports, including football, wrestling, baseball, and track & field. He continued serving weekends and summers in various Navy Reserve units until his retirement in 1994.
Lt. Commander Jeff Martin '87 was a Naval Flight Officer in the E-2C Hawkeye, based at Naval Air Station Norfolk. The Hawkeye launches first from an aircraft carrier to provide airborne control and early warning for the battle group; Mr. Martin said that they used their radar and radios to direct the rest of the aircraft launching behind them. Spending three years in a seagoing squadron, he made two six-month deployments (one around the world, from Norfolk to San Diego). He then spent three years as an instructor at the Hawkeye training squadron. At Norfolk Academy, he is the Assistant Headmaster for Business and Auxiliary Operations. He is responsible for the business side of the school, overseeing important aspects such as finances, Human Resources, security, Summer at the Academy, and more. Mr. Martin was a 12-year Bulldog, and is in his eighth year working for Academy.
Mr. George Bunn served from 1984 to 1988, from the time he was 18 until he was 22. He spent most of that time attached to an F-14 squadron. The first, a training squadron, was VF-101, “The Grim Reapers,” and the second was VF-143, “The Pukin Dogs.” They deployed to the Mediterranean with the USS Eisenhower “The Ike." Mr. Bunn worked as a Plane Captain on the flight deck and as an Air frames/Hydraulics Mechanic. Mr. Bunn said that he learned a lot about discipline and sacrifice, and he enjoyed his time very much, making lifelong friends and earning money for college by taking advantage of the G.I. Bill. He now serves Norfolk Academy as a Spanish teacher and wrestling coach.
Mrs. Kim Yager joined the Navy via Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1988, three years after graduating from college with a degree in Graphic Design. She completed flight training in 1990 and served as a Navy pilot until 1997. She met her husband, Captain Craig Yager, in the Navy and he retired in 2013 with 27 years of service. Upon his retirement, their family moved to Virginia Beach and their sons (Connor Yager ’16 and Chase Yager ’18) came to Academy. In 2014, Mrs. Yager became Accounts Payable Manager in the Business Office at NA. She worked in that position until 2019, when she moved to the Communications Department, where she maintains the school website and designs ads and graphics materials. While in the Navy, she served in numerous jobs, ranging from Scheduler to Admiral’s Aide. She flew seven different aircrafts and piloted the Navy Hot Air Balloon.
Commander Bernie McMahon was commissioned in the Navy through the ROTC program at the College of the Holy Cross and served for 21 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL. He commanded and led Special Operations elements of every size and scope, conducting operations and activities across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, and South and Central America. He has taught at NA for nine years as an Upper School Spanish Teacher, Middle School History Teacher, Dean of Students, and now a 12th Grade History Teacher and Director of Leadership Development and Student Activities. He has coached cross country, track and field, and football.
After graduating from Gulfport High School, Mr. Shannon Walden left for boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, in July 1995. His first duty station was USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG-29). After reenlisting, he went to San Diego for training as a Sonar Technician. From there, he was stationed aboard the USS Cushing (DD-985), a destroyer out of Yokosuka, Japan. After the Cushing, Mr. Walden was sent to Norfolk for more training, and then stationed at NOPF Whidbey Island. There, he worked with Canadian Navy forces providing the Pacific Fleet with submarine tracking information. He was also the liaison to Homeland Security, disseminating shipping data. He continued those duties at his next station in Naples, Italy at CUSDET Naples. His last duty station was at the Norfolk Navy Shipyard in Portsmouth, NCWRON4 C2 Division. They deployed to Kuwait to provide Harbor Security alongside Kuwaiti nationals for U.S. and Kuwaiti shipping. He has been working the overnight shift for Top Guard Security at Norfolk Academy since September 2017.
Upon graduating from the United States Naval Academy, Mr. Nick Rahall accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps. After standard initial officer training he went on to become cannon artillery officer. During his initial tour of duty, he served in various leadership roles with the 10th Marine Regiment, including as Platoon Commander, Battery Commander, and Assistant Operations Officer. During a deployment to Afghanistan, Coach Rahall worked as a Counter Insurgency Instructor as part of a multi-national team. “This deployment showed me the impact a good teacher can have on the outcome of major events and was part of what pushed me to become an educator after my eight years of service as a Marine,” he said. He now serves NA as a math teacher and wrestling coach.
In January 1972, Mr. Rob Fleenor joined the U.S. Air Force, where he studied Basic Electronics and eventually specialized in Ground Radio and Repair, supporting pilots in Air Defense Command as a Communications Specialist. In June 1975, he left active duty status and transferred to the Air Force Reserves, and he began working with the Portsmouth School System in the Audio Visual Services Department that same summer. In June 1977, he began working at Old Dominion University as the Manager of Audio-Visual Services. In summer 1986, he worked with Norfolk Academy administrators and faculty to successfully plan the first Commonwealth in Education Conference, a joint educational venture between schools of Higher Education and Secondary Schools across the country. He joined faculty and staff at Academy the following August, and now serves as Director of Audio-Visual Services.
Mrs. Virginia Scofield '03 graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2007 and spent much of her Coast Guard career navigating ships and conducting fisheries law enforcement. From 2007-2009, she was a Deck Watch Officer aboard the 378' cutter JARVIS out of Honolulu and conducted fisheries patrols in the Bering Sea. From 2009-2011, she was the Assistant Gender Policy Advisor to the Commandant in Washington DC, where she wrote service-wide policies with the goal of recruiting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities. She ended her Coast Guard career in Galveston, Texas, as the Operations Officer aboard the 210' cutter DAUNTLESS. From there, she started teaching history and coaching. In 2018, she came back to Norfolk Academy, where she teaches seventh and ninth grade history classes and coaches JV field hockey and varsity diving.