Meet Your Military: Submarine Officer Serves in New Role
[caption id="attachment_3619" align="alignleft" width="250"] Navy Lt. David M. Bartles reviews a report of operations being conducted in eastern Afghanistan at the joint operations command center at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 30, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Spc. B. Todd Willis[/caption] BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan â€“ In wartime, servicemembers often are required to master and perform duties outside their area of expertise.
Navy Lt. David M. Bartles, 29, spent his three previous years of duty on a nuclear submarine. Now, heâ€™s the night-shift battle captain for the Combined Joint Task Force 82 information operations section.â€œItâ€™s definitely a big change from what I am used to, but itâ€™s pretty exciting,â€Â Bartles said. The information operations section works with other sections in the communications action group in a variety of duties, including generating content that appears on radio and television stations in eastern Afghanistan. Servicemembers who accept duties outside their area of expertise incur some unique challenges. â€œThe most difficult thing thus far is the pace,â€Â Bartles said. â€œYou have to learn your job and the organization very quickly. Youâ€™re expected to be effective from Day One, and failure here can have profound effects.â€Â His day-shift counterpart says Bartles has stepped up to the challenge effectively. â€œI am definitely surprised at how quickly Lieutenant Bartles made the transition from working on a nuclear submarine to this,â€Â said Army Lt. Christopher L. Hunt, day-shift information operations battle captain. After earning a bachelorâ€™s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Military Institute and a masterâ€™s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University, Bartles received two years of training in nuclear engineering in preparation for his duties on a submarine. During his six years serving in the Navy, Bartles has earned two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Expeditionary Medals and five Overseas Service Awards. â€œThe best thing about working on a submarine is the camaraderie,â€Â he said. â€œThe crew is pretty small, and we have to depend on each other to get through the day. We build strong relationships by sharing the hardships of life underwater.â€Â Still, Bartles said, opportunities to get off the sub were welcome during deployments. â€œPort calls arenâ€™t anything new to the Navy, but we ended up spending six weeks in Perth, Australia, one time,â€Â he said. â€œThe city was awesome. It had friendly people and beautiful beaches and an exciting nightlife. Also, I won a poker tournament and took a tour of southwest Australia, hopping from one park to the next.â€Â Bartles grew up in Falling Water, W.Va. He has two sisters and a brother, who also serves in the Navy. â€œThe hardest part of military service for me is being away from my family and friends,â€Â Bartles said. â€œI have been able to keep in touch using the Internet, and it will be nice to take the family out for dinner when I get home.â€Â Though his duty here has been a new experience, Bartles said, heâ€™s learned a great deal from it. â€œIâ€™ve gotten to work with people from other services and field areas,â€Â he explained. â€œThis has given me a better perspective on our effort here in Afghanistan.â€Â Jan. 5, 2010: By Army Spc. B. Todd Willis Special to American Forces Press Service (Army Spc. B. Todd Willis serves in the Combined Joint Task Force 82 public affairs office.) ***SOT***