Decorated Naval Chief Retires After 22 Years - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/13/07

Decorated Naval Chief Retires After 22 Years

"My father preached to me about going into the Navy all my life."

Retired Senior Chief Karl Little only planned on spending four years in the Navy, but somewhere along the way it became more than a job.

"Then, I learned there was more to it than that. All those guys that served before you; I don't care if they were WWII vets or Nam vets or whatever, you were now one of their ship mates," said Little.

He was in the United States during the Persian Gulf War and on a training exercise on September 11th.

"I guess it was kind of like a wake-up call, because you never really realized it could happen," said Little.

In 2003, he was part of the 'shock and awe' campaign over Iraq.

"Other than the nervousness and all that, it's kind of like a natural reaction.  The military trains you so intensely the whole time you're in there; when something is actually happening, everything clicks," said Little.

Then, after nearly six months in the Gulf, he came home.

"I think the hardest part was telling these young kids, 'Hey, man.  In 45 days, you're going to have to go over to Iraq or Afghanistan', or whatever.  It was hard telling them that, especially when they have little babies at home," says Little.

During his career, he earned more than a dozen awards, including a medal for Outstanding Volunteer Service for his dedication to the Special Olympics. At 47 years old, he's retiring to spend more time with the family that's seen him through it all.

Karl will begin a new job as a psychiatric nurse's assistant in a few weeks.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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