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Waupaca Foundry

Culture - Nov 9, 2020

Personal Obligation to Serve Led to Adventure and Sailing Around the World

Ally Melby | Waupaca Foundry

Gary Greubel, Navy Machinist's Mate. 

Gary Greubel, the HR Manager at Waupaca Foundry in Tell City, Indiana, knew he wanted to be in the military since high school. His family lineage in the Navy didn’t help his desire either; His father served as an Interior Communications Electrician on the USS Cascade, his cousin served as a Gunner’s Mate on the USS Wisconsin, and his brother served as a Machinist’s Mate on the USS Charles F. Adams, which influenced Greubel to become a Machinist’s Mate as well. His son has since carried on the legacy and is a Master of Arms, also in the Navy.
 
With a high school diploma in hand, Greubel had dreams of seeing the world and a personal obligation to serve. He began his military career in July 1983, at Recruit Training Command, in Great Lakes, Illinois. He was then sent to Orlando, Florida for classroom training in nuclear power at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command.  Hands-on training followed in Saratoga Springs, New York at the base Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs. Greubel remembers the Navy’s nuclear power program as one of the most difficult academic courses in the military. With a high dropout rate and roughly one in four students graduating, Greubel was proud of what he accomplished, graduating from the program in a year.
 
In March 1985, Greubel went to the fleet. He was assigned to one ship, the USS Mississippi, throughout the entirety of his career. He remembers having to report to the USS Mississippi as it was already in the Mediterranean, traveling to Spain and having to wait a week in Sicily for it to pass by.
 
As a Machinist’s Mate at sea, Greubel worked in the ship’s engine room and was responsible for operating, maintaining, and repairing the ship’s propulsion machinery, auxiliary equipment, and outside machinery. He also performed maintenance on the nuclear reactor and components.
 
While serving, Greubel’s team assisted the Marines when the embassy in Beirut was attacked in March 1985, took part in recovery operations of the Challenger explosion in January 1986 at sea, and, during his last cruise in April 1989, the USS Mississippi rendered aid to the USS Iowa when the turret explosion occurred.
 
Greubel can also list the numerous places he traveled for operations, from the northern coast of Russia, to Norway and Germany — both twice — France, Italy, Rome, the Caribbean, and England, just to name a few.
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 USS Mississippi

One of the more memorable moments in England was pulling into port on July 4 next to the HMS Victory, the same ship that Lord Nelson sailed at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805, and being able to witness the progress from a sail-powered ship to now a nuclear-powered one. The quirky remarks of an English World War II veteran commenting “I'm glad you colonists could come and join us for your holiday” made the stop even more unforgettable to Greubel.
 
In 1989, Greubel left his adventures at sea behind and came back to southern Indiana, where he was born and raised, and got a job at a powerplant. After being laid off in January 1996, Greubel started his career at Waupaca and will celebrate his 25th anniversary next year.
 
After training at Plant One from October to December of 1996, Greubel started in the Indiana plant as a pattern vault attendant. He then became the plant’s Safety and Environmental Coordinator in December 1997. After, he was promoted to Environmental, Health, Safety and Training Manager and worked in the role until July 2015 when he became the HR Manager for the plant.
 
Greubel mentions that this was done all with a high school diploma and doesn’t believe it would have been possible without his training in the Navy.
 
"The nuclear power school and the nuclear experience, there's some life experience, you can't put credits or  hours or numbers or anything behind." -Greubel says

 
Although 37 years ago now, Greubel can list memory after memory and story after story of his time in the service and keeps journals with photographs and captions underneath. He still keeps in touch with his shipmates — something that has become easier in the time of Facebook — and if Greubel is cross-county driving, stops in to say hello to his old friends.
 
When asked about his time in the service, Greubel simply says “I enjoyed my time; I was privileged to serve.”
 
Waupaca Foundry is proud to employ the men and women who have served our country. Ten percent of our employees have served in uniform, and we thank you for your service.
 
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