The Best Decision Of My Life
by Daniel Puleio, U.S. Navy Recruiting Command
June 27, 2021
Damage Controlman 1st Class Casey Dean was born and raised in Salt Lake City. It was there that he and his two best friends decided to embark on a life-changing journey into the U.S. Navy.
June 11, 2021 - Damage Controlman 1st Class Casey Dean, assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Rocky Mountain after being selected as the Recruiter in the Spotlight, which is a program designed to highlight top-performing recruiters throughout the Navy Recruiting Command global enterprise. (U.S. Navy photo by Navy Talent Acquisition Group Rocky Mountain Public Affairs Office)
“My friends and I made a pact to join the Navy,” said Dean. “It sure made my recruiter happy as all three of us qualified! As it turned out, that was the best decision of my life.”
Upon completion of his damage control training, Dean was assigned to USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) where he was immediately called to action when the ship was assigned a search-and-rescue mission titled “Rebel Heart.” He and the crew ultimately saved a family on a foundering sailboat hundreds of miles off the coast of Mexico.
“This was an incredible experience for my first week at sea,” said Dean. “It certainly drove home the fact that I had made the right career decision”.
Afterward, Dean spent a short time in the ship’s homeport of San Diego before leaving on an eight month deployment to South America. This deployment included assignment as part of “Operation Martillo,” which targeted and combatted drug trafficking in South America.
Dean was part of the team that intercepted nearly 9,000 kilograms of cocaine. During this deployment, he had the opportunity to spend time with children in the Aid for AIDS community. After completing the final deployment of the ship, he helped decommission USS Vandegrift in February of 2015.
Dean then received orders aboard USS Gridley (DDG 101), where he met the ship in Perth, Australia, to complete her 10-month deployment. While serving onboard, Dean advanced to 3rd class petty officer followed shortly thereafter to 2nd class petty officer. He quickly assumed supervisor roles for junior Sailors and maintained hundreds of pieces of equipment while training the crew on basic fire-fighting, flooding and CBR-N.
He also led the way through various inspection cycles until his six years at sea came to an end. During his time, Dean’s superior performance earned three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a surface warfare pin and Good Conduct Medal.
Dean then opted to return to his hometown of Salt Lake City by accepting a Navy recruiting assignment. Upon completion of the Enlisted Recruiting Orientation School in Pensacola, Florida, he began a shore tour in his hometown.
For the last two years, Dean has shown his ability to share the Navy’s opportunities and advantages to countless individuals throughout this land-locked region. He participated in the Sandy, Utah 9/11 Memorial and represented the Navy in multiple county fairs as well.
Dean is currently studying Applied Management at Grand Canyon University with plans to graduate in the coming year. He continuously strives to live by the Navy ethos of Honor, Courage, and Commitment while assisting others to maximize their potential.
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 26 NTAGS and 64 Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOCS) that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world. Their mission is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.
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