ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Although some people can't remember what they were doing two minutes ago, many can recall exactly where they were and what they were doing when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks occurred.
For Timothy D. O'Boyle, it was like any other day. He woke up and went to work, not knowing his life and the rest of America were about to change. Now, more than one year later, as an electronics technician third class aboard the now-forward-deployed USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), O'Boyle has the chance to bring a sense of closure to this horrendous tragedy by doing his part in the war against terrorism.
When the attacks occurred, O'Boyle was a civilian, working as an engineering technician for RDL Inc. in Conshohocken, Pa., a small town northwest of Philadelphia. He was using some of the knowledge he gained from his service as an electrician's mate in the Navy nearly 13 years before.
"I was out on the line testing electronic equipment," remembered the soft-spoken O'Boyle. "The girl next to me was wearing a radio head set. She turned and looked at me and said a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. It wasn't long after when another one hit. Then everything was in an uproar."
Having been prior-enlisted, the call to duty was instinctive to O'Boyle, now a part of combat systems department. "I was in the Navy before and they said they needed people, so here I am."
"A couple of weeks after the attacks, I went down to the recruiting station and asked if I could sign up. The recruiters said yes," he explained. "My family was a little surprised at first, but they understood."
Both of O'Boyle's brothers are pilots in the Air Force. One is a Reservist who flew commercial airplanes for United Airlines, but soon after the tragedy, he was laid off due to the decline in air travel. O'Boyle thought of his brothers when he was considering his return to the Navy, and his family was very supportive of his decision.
"My family said they were proud. It's part of the character of my family. That's the kind of people I come from."
After the paperwork was finished, O'Boyle was back in the Navy as an electronics technician and all that was left was to get a new sea bag and a duty station. "I spent about a month in a temporary holding unit at Norfolk, before I got orders," recalled O'Boyle.
When he got orders to HST, the 41-year-old found getting reacquainted with ship life was pretty simple for him. "I really didn't have any problems readjusting to Navy life," he said. The Navy seems basically the same. There are always changes, but the basics stay the same."
One thing that has changed is technology. O'Boyle worked with radar equipment during his first enlistment, performing corrective and preventive maintenance. Now his job is much more broad-based.
"It's more complex now. There's more equipment," he said. "Now everything has some electronic components. When a bad module is discovered, they bring it to us and we can repair it at least 80 percent of the time. It saves the Navy a lot of money."
So far, O'Boyle has no regrets of leaving behind his job and family. "I feel just as strong about serving in the Navy now as I did the day I enlisted. I have a strong sense of doing something for my country."
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