I drove nuclear submarines in the waning days of the cold war in the early 1990s. The war was technically over, but the former Soviet Union and the US navy were still playing cat and mouse. We had a collision with a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea, as we had got a little too close to each other. By the laws of the sea, we made sure the other submarine was safe and not sinking, and they did the same for us, and then we made the long trip home.
That is the military I grew up in. After my first tour on the submarine, they sent me to the Naval Postgraduate School to do a degree in IT management. This was the mid-1990s, when the technology boom was in its infancy.
From there, I was posted to Iceland and spent a few years running the navy’s long-range military communications over the North Pole. Then I went to work at the Pentagon (I was there on September 11 2001). I was in the Gulf for “shock and awe” (the March 2003 invasion of Iraq), on board the aircraft carrier.