Tom Crimmins grew up on Long Island, and attended Chaminade High School. A number of Chaminade alumni were attending either the U.S. Naval or Military Academy, and that fact, combined with several other influences encouraged him to attend Annapolis. The highlight of his experiences at the Naval Academy was the camaraderie he felt in the Catholic community, and the support he received from the Chaplain. While he generally found academics at the academy difficult, he exceled at European History, and was ranked high enough to get his billet of choice, USS El Paso, a ship he had served on during a midshipman cruise. During his service in the active duty Navy, he sailed aboard USS El Paso, USS Oliver Hazard Perry, and USS Monterey. From November, 1997 to September, 2000, he was an Associate Professor of Naval Science at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. In 2000, he transitioned into the Naval Reserve and continued to serve until 2012. During that period, he was diagnosed with cancer, and was allowed to remain in the reserves in a non-deployable status. After leaving active duty, he entered business school at the University of Michigan, and upon graduating he embarked on a career in banking. Currently his son, James, is a first class cadet at the United States Military Academy.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his experiences at the Naval Academy and in the Fleet, and what he’s done since leaving active duty. He describes several deployments, including delivering supplies to Marines in Somalia, “showing the flag” in the Baltic, searching ships for contraband to enforce U.N. sanctions against Haiti, and picking up Cuban refugees at sea. He highlights his teaching experience at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and explains what that school has to offer. After discussing his career in the banking profession, he ends by reflecting on his service, and what the Navy and the Naval Academy mean to him.