Goat Locker Plank Owner

OSC(SW) Brian W. Compton

2002 and 2007 Plank Owner


USS CHOSIN CG-65 1990-1992


USS PORT ROYAL CG-73 1996-2001


Center for Surface Combat Systems Detachment in Wallops Island, Virginia 2004 -Retired

A Tribute to OSC (SW) Brian W. Compton
“The long journey home…”

The last days of the year are always filled with tidings of joy and celebration, and the many treasured customs and traditions of the holiday season. As I write these words it is December of 2006, but this year my thoughts are not focused upon the festivities of Christmas and the approaching New Year. I am thinking instead about a man who I am very pleased and proud to say has been my best friend for the better part of my entire life.

When the New Year dawns, OSC (SW) Brian W. Compton, USN, will have just retired after 20 years of dedicated service to the Navy, and to our nation. This is a time long awaited by all of Brian’s family and friends, and it has given me cause to reflect upon the two decades that have passed since he departed for Great Lakes, on that day which now seems not so long ago. It is a bittersweet recollection, as I was very sad when Brian left for what I knew would probably be a long time… but I was also very happy for him, and very proud of him for the path that he had chosen to follow. After graduating with distinction from RTC, Brian went to Operations Specialist “A” School in Dam Neck, Virginia, and it was there that I first encountered my friend as the new sailor he had become. After “A” school, Brian was assigned to the USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16), home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. At the time, Pearl Harbor seemed about as far away from home as one could get, but in spite of the distance I was pleased that the Navy had chosen to send Brian to what was certainly one of the most desirable duty stations to which a sailor could be assigned. I was also certain that Brian would have no difficulty acclimating to the notion of not having to swing a snow shovel for a while. Brian would spend more than half of his career at Pearl Harbor, in subsequent assignments aboard USS Chosin (CG-65), Command Anti-Submarine Forces US Pacific Fleet, and USS Port Royal (CG-73). My wife and I had the good fortune of vacationing in Hawaii while Brian was there, and the memories of that trip are among the fondest we have of any time spent away from home. Particularly poignant for me was our visit to the USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial. I may never have told Brian how meaningful it was to stand with him, a US Navy sailor, in that solemn place of honor, but it was indeed a privilege of his friendship that I will never forget.

Hawaii is a beautiful place, but the limitations of living on an island for more than a decade made it no surprise when Brian chose orders to Naval Space Command Detachment Echo in Stuttgart, Germany. I’ve visited Germany in years past, so I knew that Brian would find there a place to engage his interests, and one about as different from a tropical island as any place could be, to say nothing of the challenges of being a sailor assigned to duty in the middle of an Army base. It would be an exciting time for him, to be sure. Brian achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer while stationed in Germany. I vividly remember his phone call to tell me that he’d made CPO… he couldn’t believe it, but I wasn’t surprised one bit. Soon after that he was selected as Command Chief, yet another affirmation of his dedication, ability, and leadership.

Brian returned to the United States mainland with a posting to the Center for Surface Combat Systems Detachment in Wallops Island, Virginia. This would be his final duty station before retiring from active duty, and I was pleased that the assignment would afford us more opportunities to spend time with him. Brian has visited with us on several occasions over the past few years, and each time I felt myself looking forward to the days when his visits would not be governed by the details of a leave chit, or duty schedule. And so now it is that the long journey Brian set out upon those twenty years ago is coming to an end. He returns to a bright future as an accomplished man, a successful leader, and a respected veteran of service to his country and his people.

In every way that matters, Brian is my brother, and he has been sorely missed. He has a good heart, and one of the finest souls I have ever encountered, and my life is so much richer by virtue of his friendship. Thus it is with much love, respect, and gratitude that I offer some words I’ve been waiting to say for a long, long time…

Welcome home, my friend… welcome home.

Steven R. Lichliter
December 22, 2006