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Posted by R. Laco R. Laco
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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