Mike Dolbec recently became commander of the USS Texas. This submarine is the fourth ship to bear the Texas name. Though Dolbec spends more time with his sailors than with his family, he says he has a calling to service.
Dolbec says his true passion is being able to teach the sailors he works with, both in and out of the Navy. Dolbec once wrote a recommendation letter for a sailor who is also a student, as part of college admission requirements. Dolbec required one thing in exchange.
“One of the things I told him he had to do once he got into college,” Dolbec said, “was send me his report cards. I got that informed that he got two As, in the classes he was taking this past semester.”
Commanding the USS Texas fulfills another important role for Dolbec. It was something he says that his parents instilled in him at a very early age: the value of service to others and to the nation.
But the call to duty does weigh on him. In the past three years Dolbec says he has spent more time with the sailors on the submarine than he has with his own daughter.
“I’m never really away. I’m always with her. It’s just I’m not with her at that present moment,” he said.
With the help of his wife, Dolbec has come up with ways to compensate for his time away and make sure his presence is still felt at home. They record videos of him reading books to his daughter so she can see him every day. But one thing he wants her to know is that he loves and supports her
“I’m proud of her,” he said. “She can do anything she wants as long as she puts her mind to it. And whatever she does I’ll be happy for her.”
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