COMMODORE'S CORNER

R. Laco by R. Laco @
   Of course!  It did not take too long after moving back home to Dallas/Fort Worth to receive my first phone call.  A fellow shipmate, TD Smyer, sent me a note saying, “Hey Rudy, give me a call I need a SWO (Surface Warfare Officer) to help out at the non-profit the USS Fort Worth Support Committee”.  
After attending one of the board of directors meeting, I was elected as a board member and asking a couple of questions to myself.  First question, how much time will this volunteer effort consume?  Second question, what kind of impact can you really make?
The answer to the first question is – whatever volunteer time you can provide is greatly appreciated by a non-profit. My challenge was learning how to allocate new work-life balance after leaving the military. After determining how much time you want to give for volunteering, it is important that you block off that time on your calendar and make sure your family is aware of your commitment. The other key point I learned …  if you can’t be there for a meeting or event….it’s OK! Unlike the military, there is flexibility in your schedule. Remember, any time you give to help volunteer is always appreciated!


Union Pacific photo Dec 6, 2018

To answer the second question, the roots of my desire to serve come from our 41st President, George H.W. Bush.  He was one of the key leaders I looked up to who left a lasting legacy of service to our country. Two of his inspirational quotes which resonated with me about post-military life service.
(1) -  "I think the spirit of America, one American wanting to make another American's life better, or internationally our desire to see countries do better, or people in countries do better, coming from this concept of volunteerism is a very valid and important part of our internal being."
It is not hard to find you passion. Get involved and use your military experience to help them create core values create core values that strive to make an impact on those around you.  
(2) -  "The American Dream means giving it your all, trying your hardest, accomplishing something. And then I'd add to that, giving something back. No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others."
We served many years in the service protecting the American Dream. Post-military you can still serve and protect the American dream by actively participating in your community to make it better!  It's not about how much you make, but rather the mark you leave behind.
The one passion I missed after leaving the Navy was the ability to help mentor the officers and sailors who are still serving today. Luckily, I was blessed with a post-military opportunity to help with mentorship.  Through my non-profit, I enjoy meeting and working with the officers and crew that serve onboard the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3). I would never have guessed that I would have been able to serve the waterfront Navy again in Texas.  Four years later, I still volunteer and recently was elected as the President, Board of Directors of the USS Fort Worth Support Committee.   We’re making an impact on our community and with the crews that serve onboard.  Come check us out at - https://ussfortworth.org/index.php
George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away on November 30th, 2018.  On December 6, 2018, I watched on television the special Union Pacific train which brought President George H.W. Bush to Texas A&M University for his burial at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.  Afterwards, I took a moment to reflect on his accomplishments. Bottom line, his legacy continues and you can be part of it!  There are many opportunities to volunteer… check out the Points of Light Global Network foundation at https://www.pointsoflight.org/   Find your passion and continue your service!  Thanks…. Commodore Rudy sends!
R. Laco by R. Laco @


Howdy from Dallas, Texas!   My name is Rodelio “Rudy” Laco.  I am a first generation Filipino American and was born in Fort Ord, California (Located near Monterey, CA).   My grandfather, Agapito Bolante (Mom’s dad), was a WWII Veteran and POW. He was as Bataan Death March survivor serving as a Filipino Scout.  My grandfather and his family (wife, 3 sons and 2 daughters) immigrated to the U.S. after WWII.  He proudly enlisted and retired from the U.S. Army where he rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.  My father, Rudy Laco, Sr joined the U.S. Navy when he was 18.  He immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s and served with the U.S. Navy retiring as a Chief Petty Officer.  During my younger years, we moved with the military. My father was stationed in Michigan, Kansas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas.

   After my dad’s Navy retirement, our family settled in Dallas, Texas. I graduated as the Valedictorian from Cedar Hill high school in 1980. I was the first in my family to attend a University.  I received a Naval ROTC scholarship and graduated from Texas A&M university with a degree in Computer Science.  In 1984, I was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. I married my high school sweetheart, Jennifer. She is a 1986 Texas A&M graduate. We have been married over 32 years and are blessed with two daughters, one son, one son-in-law, and 2 grandchildren.

   I am a Navy Veteran.  I am a retired Navy Captain (Same as a Colonel in Air Force or Army) in 2015 after proudly serving 30 years with the U.S. Navy. I earned a MBA and two Masters degrees.  My most memorable experiences:   I was honored to be selected six times as a Commanding Officer which included serving as “The Captain” of three ships, USS ARDENT, USS PIONEER, and USS STEPHEN W. GROVES. I also served as “The Commodore” for Destroyer Squadron 40 in charge of a fleet of ships where we sailed twice around South America.   In 2000, conducting mine hunting operations for one year in the Persian Gulf.  I was forward deployed in theater when the USS Cole was attacked.  In 2001, I was stationed in the Pentagon during 911. In 2010, I was selected to lead the short notice deployment onboard the hospital ship, USNS Comfort. It was an honor to lead the 1200 men and women who helped in the earthquake response to Haiti.  In 2012, I served as the Chief of Staff for the Navy’s Expeditionary Force (25,000 men and women).  During this time, I was humbled to participate in a Dover AFB honor ceremony to receive the body of a sailor killed in action in Afghanistan.

After retiring in 2014, my wife and I returned home to Dallas, Texas.  The biggest question I faced was, “What are you going to do now?”  After working non-stop and many long hours for 30 years, my retirement date of Jan 1st, 2015 arrived.  I decided the first thing I needed to do was reassess our family’s work life balance.  When you are in the military, the amount of time you spend on mission is defined for you. The challenge is how to incorporate your family and personal goals.

It’s different once you transition! Now, you’re face with balancing family, personal, and work goals. The good news is that you’re in control. Our family decided that we would adjust my work life balance to focus on more family and personal goals.  My wife adjusted her goals to pursue more opportunities in her career field.

I have enjoying my post Navy life working from home.  My new work life balance provided a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends. My favorite change included the opportunity to spending mornings playing golf with my dad.   After 30 years of being away from our home town. LOL, I didn’t mind getting up at 5:30 to travel across town to play a round of golf with my dad.

We would tee off, usually before sunrise, and finish our round of golf by 1000. I still had plenty of time to do my consulting work.  I opted to not pursue a 9-5 job and enjoy the flexibility of working from the house.

I’m always looking for a way to continue to serve.  Currently, I’m serving with the USS Fort Worth Support Committee as President, Board of Directors.  The USS Fort Worth Support Committee is a non-profit 501c(3) who’s mission is to honor and support the USS Fort Worth, it’s crews, and their families.  I’m also working on a project to serve our future transitioning Veterans and their families.  My goal is to systemize a grassroots effort to link our hometown heroes after they leave the military.

In future blogs, look forward to sharing with you about how to make post military life a smooth, fruitful, and happy life for years to come.  My question to you, “What’s your work life balance look like?”

Keep Pressing and Enjoy Life!

Commodore Rudy
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