"From the Revolutionary War to current conflicts, women have played a crucial role in the security of our nation and the success of the U.S. Navy. Join us as we celebrate Women's History Month by profiling women leaders and pioneers across the Navy."
Vice Admiral Jan Tighe is currently serving as Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and Commander, U.S. 10TH Fleet.
Q: Why did you decide to join/serve the Navy?
A: When I was a sophomore in High School, I learned about the military academies and the fact that they were looking for candidates that were well balanced across academics, athletics, and other extra-curricular or community activities. That piqued my interest. But what cinched it was the U.S. Naval Academy summer seminar I attended before my senior year. I learned about the Navy, and USNA's mission to develop midshipmen morally, mentally and physically. I knew then that the Navy was for me, and I never looked back. I didn't even apply to any other universities.
But it's been a few years since 16-year-old Jan Chinn decided to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Since I did not come from a military family, maybe a more telling question would be: Why did I stay in the Navy?
I believe there are three main factors. First, I chose a field of work that I love, and our Sailors are fantastic. Second, I had great opportunity to grow and develop as a leader across the breadth of our missions and through educational opportunities that directly prepared me to fight in the electromagnetic spectrum and cyberspace. Third, in each job I knew the work was important, and that I was making a difference for our navy and nation.
Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you?
A: My role models are pretty diverse and range from Dr. Martin Luther King to Amazing Grace Hopper to my parents. As a Naval officer there have been many, many mentors most notably RADM Mike Brown, retired IW Officer and General Keith Alexander. Both taught me to not take myself too seriously despite the very serious nature of our work. They also demonstrated daily the importance of treating people with respect regardless of rank, stature or work role.
Q: Please tell us a story about someone, perhaps in your family or otherwise, who has influenced you or challenged you to become more than you ever thought you might.
A: My parents were very young when I was born. They both became educators in Broward County, Florida. They worked hard and were passionate about education, not the least of which was my younger brother's and my education. They each earned a Ph.D. in education, while I was growing up.
Mom ultimately became a very successful high school principal and led two different high schools, which she took from marginal performance to very good. Dad became a college professor. While I was at the Naval Academy, he decided to go the police academy (at the age of 40.) He was a college professor by day and crime fighter with Broward Sheriff's Office by night. They set an amazing example and encouraged me to believe in myself and that anything was possible.
Q: Please tell us which past assignments are the most memorable to you and why.
A: All are memorable in different ways. Flying in the EP-3 as a Special Evaluator during DESERT STORM was the tour that made me certain I had found my calling. We were operating with one less "back end" cryptologic crew than the VQ squadrons had for the front end. My team was flying every night and I was scheduling the remaining cryptologic crews. We were cycling through all the VQ different crews. I thought it couldn't get any better than that.
I have felt just the same way with each subsequent tour including my O-6 command tour at NSA/CSS Hawaii, EA for General Alexander, Deputy J3 USCYBERCOM, and NPS Interim President. Commanding Fleet Cyber and 10TH Fleet is, of course, fulfilling a dream that I never even had considered 32 years ago, when I left USNA.
Q: What does being a leader in the Navy mean to you?
A: Being a leader in the Navy means that we serve as a personal example for others while charting the course for our organizations. Humility, integrity, and compassion are hallmark personal characteristics that I aspire to live by every day. Leading is about treating everyone with respect, and inspiring them to be more than they imagine, while getting the important work of our Navy accomplished.
Reprinted from the U.S. Navy’s All Hands Magazine: www.navy.mil/ah_online/