By Elizabeth Kearns, SRF-JRMC Corporate Communications
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Dec. 7, 2017) – Lt. Cmdr. Carlito Dacoco, Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) project superintendent assigned to USS Antietam (CG 54), took the stage before a standing-room only crowd in the officer’s club onboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate his retirement after an accomplished 30-year career.
“Thank you for all you have done here at SRF, the example you have set, and the legacies you leave in place,” said Cmdr. Joshua Crinklaw, SRF-JRMC waterfront operations officer and ceremony host. “This is a day of celebration for you, your family and all your friends: a day to celebrate your wonderful accomplishments and to talk about your future endeavors.”
Originally from San Pedro Laguna, Philippines, Dacoco joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from university and working for three years as a merchant mariner. He enlisted at Subic Bay Dec. 1, 1987.
Dacoco began his naval career as a boiler technician. He distinguished himself quickly, earning the enlisted surface warfare specialist designation during his first sea tour, and engineering a main condenser gasket design improvement during his second tour. This improvement is still in use today.
After a tour as a brig officer onboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Dacoco laterally converted to damage controlman. It was during his time aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) that he was promoted to chief petty officer.
Dacoco has frequently proven himself as a Sailor on whom leadership and peers alike can rely in times of need. When USS Juneau (LPD 10) lost its leading chief petty officer while Dacoco was assigned to Blue Ridge, he stepped in. During the nine-month temporary assignment to Sasebo, Dacoco successfully qualified as engineering officer of the watch and saw the crew through a rigorous training cycle and deployment.
In 2003, Dacoco was commissioned as a limited duty officer. While serving as the repair officer aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), he again demonstrated his resilience and leadership abilities by volunteering to cover for the unexpected loss of the ship’s fire marshal. He served both positions simultaneously, through a training cycle and subsequent deployment.
Dacoco completed tours as a department head and as a main propulsion assistant, later serving as officer in charge and executive officer of Training Support Center San Diego before returning to sea as the maintenance and material management officer aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
Over the course of 18 years of sea duty, he calculates that he has deployed 18 times for a period of five months or longer. That calculation disregards the underway periods Dacoco considers to be short. Through it all, he credits his wife and sons for their own strength as they endured many separations.
“Some people slow down as they approach retirement,” said Cmdr. Mitchell Perrett, SRF-JRMC production officer, in his ceremonial remarks. “But not Lito.”
Dacoco’s work at SRF-JRMC stands out. Dacoco’s team completed Antietam’s maintenance ahead of schedule, then returned to the project as emergent repairs became necessary a few months later. As cited in his meritorious service medal award commendation, Dacoco performed his duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner.
Emotions ran high as Dacoco prepared to be relieved of his watch for the last time, signaling the ceremonial start to his retirement.
“Lito, I know returning that salute when the watch has been passed will be bittersweet,” Perrett said. “But you should really feel the pride that you are due in that moment. All of us recognize what you have done to prepare us, and we will do our best to carry forward the lessons you have taught us in your career.”