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Col. Earl L. Tingle, Jr., Class 09-67

-  A Brief Bio, As Of March 2009  -

Click any picture to see full size image.

Classmate Earl L. Tingle, Jr.

Although not a native born Floridian, I call Florida home. My parents were in Wilmington, North Carolina, during WWII… which explains my having been born in Wilmington in August, 1944. My Father was serving there in the US Coast Guard, prior to being shipped out to the Pacific and being “forced” into the US Navy. That was the practice back then, as the Coast Guard operated as a personnel pool for Navy expansion.

My Father is more than a hero to me. In June 1931, he was on a Coast Guard cutter that was conducting life saving training off of the coast of North Carolina. A shipmate who couldn’t swim fell overboard without a life preserver, and my Dad jumped in the water and kept the two of them afloat until the ship could turn around and recover them.

For that, he was awarded the Silver Life Saving Medal. There are two medals awarded for saving a person from the perils of the sea – the Gold and Silver Life Saving Medals. The Gold medal is for actions involving a greater level of danger to the rescuer, and the Silver is for a life saving action of lesser peril to the rescuer. In addition to my Dad, there are several other distinguished recipients of the Silver Life Saving Medal – Chester Nimitz, and George Patton. In my opinion, Nimitz and Patton are in good company. For more information on the Silver and Gold Life Saving Medals, you might want to see   

On 7 December 1991, by order of the Commandant of the US Coast Guard, the galley and residence building at the US Coast Guard Station Ponce Inlet, Florida, was dedicated to Lt(JG) Earl L. Tingle, Sr., for his bravery and service to the US Coast Guard for 25 years. I’m very proud of my Dad.

I grew up on New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and attended the same school my mother had attended some 30 years earlier. I didn’t graduate from that school, as my parents decided that I needed more discipline, so they sent me to Riverside Military Academy, where I squeaked by and graduated in 1962.

I barely made it into college, where I promptly flunked out – college wasn’t ready for me. I had previously worked as an electrician apprentice, so I fell back up on that for a couple of years. In 1965, the war in Vietnam was going strong, and I knew I was subject to being drafted, even though I was married at the time. So, I enlisted for the Army Security Agency, as a teletypewriter repairman. In the reception station processing, I scored enough on my tests to qualify to take the Officer Candidate Test, and, fortunately, I made enough on that to be selected for OCS.

I completed Advanced Infantry Training at Ft Ord, California, and then went on to Signal OCS at Ft Gordon, Georgia, graduating on 20 April 1967, with Class 09-67.

My assignments include Germany, Vietnam, Panama, the Pentagon, Ft Bragg, and Fort Gordon, where I retired in 1993.

In Germany, I was a Platoon Leader in the 34th Signal Battalion, and later Battalion S2. I served 2 years there before being PCS’d to Vietnam, as a “replacement.”

At the reception station we were told to go stand under the unit patch, if we were assigned to a specific Division. To me, the yellow patch with the horse looked better than any of the rest, so I stood under that patch even though I was unassigned – that’s how I got into the 1st Cav.

I had a great year with the 1st Bn, 5th Cav as the Battalion SigO, S2, and later as a company commander. I received the Combat Infantryman Badge about half way through my year with the 1st of the 5th.

My next assignment was an Airborne assignment, in Panama, where I picked up my Master’s Parachutist Badge.

The Pentagon was a challenging assignment, but very career enhancing. Following the Pentagon assignment, I commanded the 447th Signal Battalion at Ft Gordon. At that time, at Ft Gordon, all the permanent party instructors – about 1,800 of them, were assigned to the 447th. After the Pentagon, that was a very rewarding tour of duty. All in all, throughout my career, while I certainly had a couple of lame assignments along the way, my 1st Cav and Airborne assignments were the most professionally rewarding.

After retiring I took a break for a couple of years, and discovered travel by Harley among other things. After 911, I reassessed my position and decided I still had something to offer my country, so I started looking for a position in government service. Luckily, I was hired as a contractor in the same office at Ft Gordon, the same office where I’d served as a Colonel just prior to retirement.

I worked there for 5 years, and in August 2007, I shifted to part time, and that’s what I do now… except that I work part time from my house in New Smyrna Beach, which is ¼ mile south of Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station and the Lt(JG) Earl L. Tingle, Sr. Building.

I have 3 sons, 2 of whom are stepsons, and in February 2009, my oldest son, Earl L. Tingle, III, aka Buddy, and I had a father/son Harley ride to Key West – that was a great adventure.

I am engaged to Vicky Martin, and she shares the house with me in New Smyrna. We enjoy our grandchildren and friends, and we wish they could visit more often, but like all of us when we were younger, they have many competing endeavors. I’m particularly proud of my 2 newest grandchildren – Jonathan and Jessica. They are an absolute joy to be around – both are very entertaining.  

For the foreseeable future – New Smyrna Beach and the open road will be home.

Col (R) Earl L. Tingle, Jr.Col (R) Earl L. Tingle, Jr.Col (R) Earl L. Tingle, Jr.

This page originally posted 04 March, 2009 

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Original Site Design and Construction By John Hart, Class 07-66. Ongoing site design and maintenance courtesy Class 09-67.
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