Dollaga sails to Vallejo as ‘Top Sub’ – Times-Herald

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Thirty-six years ago, Hogan High School graduate Butch Dolaga never saw himself pursuing a career in the military.

Oh, how the tide has turned.

Rear Admiral Dollaga is currently Chief of Legislative Affairs in Washington, DC. He is in Vallejo for his first visit in more than three decades. The trip will include stops and visits with Mayor Robert McConnell, Vallejo Unified School District Superintendent William Spaulding, Jesse Bethel students and cadets at Cal Maritime, to name a few stops.

He was at Cal Maritime Tuesday morning talking to cadets to try to reconnect the Navy with the local community.

“I’m here to let everyone know that it’s possible to have a good life after high school,” Dolago said. “We used to have all the jobs on Mare Island years ago, but now we don’t. I am here to let students know that while the Navy may not be for everyone, it is a great stepping stone. I want to convince young people and kids in the community that yes, you can do it.”

Dalaga says he initially chose the Navy because it was the most affordable plan he could think of.

“I had to go to school, but I also needed someone to pay for my college scholarship, and I felt that military service was the best way to go,” Dolaga said. “I thought I’d only be with them for about five years, but here I am 36 years later.”

Dolago joked that when he first joined the Navy, the 1986 film “Top Gun” was all the rage.

“And it’s amazing that I came back to Vallejo, and there was another movie, ‘Top Shooter,'” Dollago said with a laugh. “That being said, I didn’t choose to get wings, I took a different route. I didn’t choose “Top Gun”, I chose “Top Sub”.

In the 36 years between the two Tom Cruise movies, Dolag avoided singing popular 1960s hits in bars and at beach volleyball matches. Instead, he stayed busy as he graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University.

Dollaga’s sea tours include assignments as division officer aboard USS Los Angeles (SSN 688); engineer officer aboard USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740)(B); and executive officer aboard USS Cheyenne (SSN 773). He commanded USS Charlotte (SSN 766) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and served as commanding officer of Submarine Development Squadron 12, Groton, Connecticut. His shore and staff responsibilities include Admissions Officer at the US Naval Academy; Technical Assistant to the Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion; nuclear officer program manager and submarine officer community manager on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education), to name a few.

His flag assignments include commanding officer of the Undersea Warfare Development Center in Groton, Conn., and most recently commanding officer of Submarine Group SEVEN/Task Force 54/Task Force 74, which conducts underwater operations in the CENTCOM and INDOPACOM areas of responsibility.

He has completed three overseas deployments in the Indo-Pacific Command and five strategic deterrent patrols in the Atlantic. The units in which he served together earned four decorations, five “E” battle insignia, and the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Arlie Burke Trophy.

“Surprisingly, when I first decided to go to the Naval Academy, a lot of people at school or close to me said that I was setting the bar too high for myself,” Dolaga said. “Fortunately, I had a teacher, Georgia Applegate, and Mrs. Louise Brown, who believed in me. “I had some self-doubts, but they believed in me and now I can go back to my hometown and be the person I always wanted to be.”

“John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Any man who may be asked in this century what he has done to make his life worthwhile, I think, can answer with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, ‘I served in the United States Navy,'” he continued Long time. “I really love that quote and take it seriously.”

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