U.S. Navy Tactical Interoperability Support Activity Detachment OneNorth Island
San Diego, CA
April 1980 – March 1983
After decommissioning the Chicago, I reported to the Navy Tactical Interoperability Support Activity NTISA on Point Loma in San Diego. Shortly thereafter, I became the assistant officer-in-charge at Detachment One on North Island, the first of six support detachments. Our job was to haul a couple of semi trailers full of electronics equipment and computers down to the piers (or shore commands), hook into a ship and certify their Navy Tactical Data Systems NTDS software suite. I became more of an admin officer, because we had several chiefs who pretty much ran the trailers.
NTISA Det One trailers (red arrow). Note a rebuilt pier Juliet – upper right carrier pier.
During this tour, I spent a good deal of my time pursuing a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration (with an emphasis in Information Systems) at National University. I had so much spare time on my hands at work that I was able to do almost all my homework at work.
At this detachment, I had one female enlisted person (my one storekeeper) in the group. She was a single parent, with two kids, and one big pain in the rear. She caused me more paperwork than all the other 25 guys combined. On one particular day, I had to go up to the hill (the headquarters on Point Loma) for some business. While there, I overheard another Warrant Officer say that he was in dire need for a storekeeper and wasn’t having any luck in getting one. I said to him “you will have one tomorrow!” The next day I told the female storekeeper to clean out her desk and report to the hill. About two weeks later my phone rings and it’s that other Warrant Officer. He says “Willis, you son of a bitch! I’m sending her back!” I said “no you’re not!” He never did like me after that.
Fleet Combat Training Center, Point Loma – Location of NTISA Headquarters.
While I was at Detachment One, the civilian contractors had a new piece of test equipment that they were testing. This equipment was called the Link-11 Monitor and Integrity Test Set LIMITS, and was essentially a computerized spectrum analyzer. I took a keen interest in this unique piece of equipment as I could see the real value in providing one (at the minimum) on each aircraft carrier in a carrier battle group. I learned how to operate it and became pretty good at Link-11 signal analysis. The equipment could analyze the integrity of the Link-11 signal from each unit and in some cases we could even tell them what card to replace in repairing the defective equipment. I really pushed this piece of test equipment during my whole tour, but it never really came to fruition until after I left. I understand it is now used on all aircraft carriers.
NTISA Trailers (red arrow), NTISA Headquarters (yellow arrow), and Recruit Training Center (blue arrow).
Towards the end of this tour, I put my papers in requesting to retire from active duty. At that time, the employment picture didn’t look very promising. So, after a couple months, I pulled my papers. I called my detailer and asked what ships were available. One ship he mentioned was the Robison, a guided missile destroyer. I just happened to look out my office window at the time and noticed the Robison anchored out in the bay. She was going through RefTra (refresher training) and getting ready to deploy, the perfect time to go aboard a ship. So, I said to the detailer “I’ll take the Robison.” Later, I would come to regret that decision.
Master Chief Petty Officer, Electronics Technician (Permanent)
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