“Just about everything I have now is because of the military,” said Daryn Moorman, a retired Naval officer who served in Afghanistan in 2008.
Moorman, a Mackay resident, started as an enlisted machinist mate in the Navy and worked his way into the Navy’s nuclear enlisted program. With help from the GI Bill, Moorman took what he learned about nuclear propulsion from the Navy and got a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho. Now, he works for the Department of Energy overseeing a nuclear propulsion project for the Navy.
“Everything I do just seems to tie back to the Navy,” said Moorman.
Moorman fondly remembers his time working on a provincial reconstruction team, a unit comprised of diplomats, officers and construction experts working to support reconstruction efforts in unstable states. Moorman spent a year in Afghanistan building schools, roads and hospitals. It was then Moorman experienced the closest thing he would ever see to combat.
“Our job over there was to win hearts and minds,” said Moorman. “One day I was going to head out to one of my projects, but I wasn’t allowed to go at the last minute. Of course I was upset, but then I found out the lead vehicle of the convoy I was going to travel with got hit with an IED.” As the leader of that project, Moorman would have ridden in the lead vehicle.
Now he’s retired from the military, Moorman said his fills his time outside of work by being a volunteer firefighter in Mackay. He learned to fight fires while serving on two submarines, an Ohio-class ballistic sub called the Alaska and a Los Angeles fast-attack sub named the Chicago.
“Everyone’s a firefighter on a sub,” said Moorman. “A fire breaks out and you have a very limited time to put it out because you have a limited air supply in a sub. And if you don’t get to the surface quick there’s gonna be problems.”
Moorman said being on a submarine is like “being in a building with no windows.” He said it can be hard living in a confined space with other men, but you learn to adapt.
Moorman said adapting to changing situations is the most important thing he took away from the Navy. He said the military taught him to relax and take on problems with a grain of salt. This helps in his current job as a engineer because whenever a problem arises, his instinct is to take a breath and think things through.
“It’s not like being on a sub,” said Moorman. “It’s not like you’re going to be sleeping on the bottom of the ocean if something goes wrong.”
Moorman said his experiences in the military and as a veteran have been positive. He understands he is lucky in that regard, knowing that some veterans have a hard time adjusting to civilian life. He had a personal experience with this when his uncle returned from the Vietnam War, saying his uncle “wasn’t the same man he was when he left.”
Moorman is looking to the future now. He and his wife Stacey have two children, a daughter Libby and a son Nolan. Moorman said his son applied to both the Navy and the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He said he’s glad his son applied to ROTC, but isn’t going to pressure him into any particular branch. He feels its Nolan’s decision to make and will support him.