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Kent Bubel Interview Transcription

Kent Bubel, Lieutenant O-3

Kent Bubel worked his way up from Navy ROTC recruit at the University of Illinois to a commissioned officer stationed in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq war, planning trips for high visibility VIPs including General Petraeus, President Barack Obama, and the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Chicago native Kent Bubel joined the Navy ROTC at the University of Illinois as a way do something more interesting than the basic 9-5 jobs he saw his classmates aspiring to get. During his oral history interview, Bubel discusses what it was like to be commissioned, to be trained as a Surface Warfare Officer, and to work in multiple areas of the modern U.S. Navy.

During his first tour, Bubel was stationed in Bahrain in 2004 on a mine countermeasures ship—the USS Gladiator—for six months. Though the threat in that area was minimal, their presence was needed. After his time in Bahrain, he returned to Corpus Christi, Texas and continued work with minesweepers, while also providing support to relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

After minesweeping duty, Bubel made his way to Norfolk, Virginia and in 2006 began working on the Destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill as a Fire Control Officer. During his time on the Churchill, he trained at sea in the Persian Gulf. Three months into his deployment, he received follow-on orders to work in Baghdad. Upon completing a three week crash course in basic soldiering, Bubel found himself in the middle of Baghdad at Victory Base. His duties at Victory Base included planning trips for high visibility VIPs, including General Petraeus, President Barack Obama, and the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

After his service, Bubel took advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in order to work towards his Master's Degree in Environmental Management at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.