It’s not every day a Navy family gets the chance to cross paths in the fleet. For one father and son duo, this opportunity presented itself as the two information warfare (IW) community Sailors were brought together at Corry Station in Pensacola.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Willie Walden-Bryan Sr., from Atlantic City, New Jersey, enlisted in the Navy in 1997 as an undesignated seaman. He later picked up the radioman rating which eventually became the information systems technician (IT) rating. Eighteen years later, his son Willie Walden-Bryan Jr. followed his father’s example and enlisted in the Navy as an IT.
“When my son told me he was interested in the Navy, I recommended the IT rating to him because it provides a lot of useful skillsets on both the military and civilian sides,” said the elder Walden-Bryan. “I wanted to make sure he was set up for success, but it also feels good to see him following in my footsteps.”
After his boot camp graduation, the younger Walden-Bryan reported to IWTC Corry Station in January to begin his IT training. He completed the IT “A” School a few months later and, as he awaited orders to his first duty station, learned his father would be coming to Corry Station as well to attend the Information Professional (IP) Basic Course.
“It was pretty amazing finding out I was actually going to be attending the course in Pensacola,” said the elder Walden-Bryan. “It’s rare that family members in the Navy are at the same command, and getting to be here at the same time as my son is a great feeling.”
The younger Walden-Bryan said having his father around at the beginning of his naval career served as a reminder of his own goals and of the family tradition he carries on.
“I always looked up to my dad, and he’s a big reason for me joining the Navy,” said Walden-Bryan Jr. “He always tells me to do the best I can, and I would like to one day reach the same level as him or maybe even farther.”
Walden-Bryan Sr. is expected to depart IWTC Corry Station and return to his permanent duty station at the conclusion of the IP Basic Course, and Walden-Bryan Jr. is currently awaiting orders to his first permanent duty station. He hopes to receive orders to the same area as his father. Both expressed how lucky they felt to be at the same command together as they achieved new milestones in their careers.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to be here with my son during his ‘A’ school time,” said the elder Walden-Bryan. “As I’m completing my transition from enlisted to officer, he’s beginning his transition from civilian to Sailor and it’s so amazing for us to be able to be here at this moment.”
Information Warfare Training Corry Station provides a continuum of training to Navy and joint service personnel that prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.