Where did you serve and what did you do?
Tim Gudge’s Service
Born in California’s Oakland-Bay Area in 1959, Robert “Tim” Gudge grew up in the small Sierra Nevada Mountain town of Colfax CA before serving honorably in the US Navy for 30-years, following in his father’s footsteps who served on a Troop Transport and Destroyer in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters during WWII.
During his career, Tim traveled from San Diego for Recruit Training in 1978 to Great Lakes Naval Training Center for Machinist Mate school then to a Leahy-Class Cruiser USS REEVES (CG-24) stationed in Pearl Harbor HI where he made two Western-Pacific deployments. He advanced to MMFN (E-3) and was selected to convert to the new Gas Turbine Technician rating (GS) which required him to return to Great Lakes to undergo extensive training on the LM-2500 General Electric Gas Turbine jet engines then being used on the new Navy Destroyers and Frigates. Following graduation from the school in 1981, he remained at the GS School as a staff member while awaiting orders to sea and during that time he met his wife to be, Terry, who was then a resident of Racine WI with her two sons.
In 1982, GSM3 (E-4) Tim Gudge transferred to Seattle WA to train on and commission a new Guided Missile Frigate USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37). He and Terry married in 1983 and later that summer, the ship changed home ports to Long Beach CA. After two WESTPAC deployments in CROMMELIN where he was also part of the Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) Team, GSM1(SW) Gudge (E-6) and his family transferred back to Great Lakes in 1986 where he was an instructor at the Gas Turbine Land Based Engineering School, or Hotplant – a fully functional mock-up of the engine room and auxiliary spaces on an FFG. Tim taught students the basics of engineering and Gas Turbine operations to both enlisted Sailors and prospective Commanding Officers, Executive Officers and Engineers. During that time, Tim was selected to advance to Chief Petty Officer (CPO, E-7).
In 1990, GSMC(SW) Gudge was selected to man his second Pre-Commissioned ship, USS BARRY (DDG 52), as the senior GSM and bring her to life. Being only the second Arleigh Burke-Class DDG and the first built in Pascagoula MS, the construction took over two years so Tim and his wife moved to Mississippi. The ship was supposed to remain in Pascagoula following commissioning in 1992 however less than six months later, the crew received word they would be changing homeports to Norfolk VA. In 1994, just prior to the BARRY’s first deployment, the families moved to Norfolk. Later, during that deployment, Tim was again part of the VBSS Team and BARRY participated in the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, visited the birthplace of the ship’s namesake Commodore John Barry in County Cork IR, celebrated July 4th in Cannes FR where they hosted over 3000 civilian guests for an American 4th of July BBQ party onboard the ship, and transited the Suez Canal through the Red Sea into the Arabian Gulf to demonstrate the American presence to Saddam Hussein.
From 1996 to 1999, GSCS(SW) Gudge was on shore duty as part of the Engineering Readiness Team and Afloat Training Group in Norfolk VA where he and his team trained, assessed and examined the engineering departments and their administrative programs in the Atlantic Fleet Gas Turbine ships, preparing them for higher level examinations and pending deployments. There, Tim was selected to advance to Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9) and transferred to his third Pre-Commissioned ship, USS PORTER (DDG 78), again being built in Pascagoula MS. While learning the newest DDG and training his crew as the “Top Snipe”, Tim applied for and was selected to become a Command Master Chief (CMC) and attend the Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport RI.
Once the PORTER was commissioned, Tim set off for his new orders and joined the crew of USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (FFG 58) in Norfolk as her CMC where he was the senior enlisted onboard and worked directly for the Commanding Officer. Now CMDCM(SW) Gudge, he worked with the Executive Officer to lead the crew through a homeport change from Norfolk to Mayport FL and two challenging Mediterranean/Middle East deployments which included participating in enforcing the Iranian Oil Embargo by seizing several oil tankers being used to smuggle Iraqi oil to Iran.
In 2002, Tim and Terry transferred to Millington TN where he was the Command Master Chief Detailer, tasked with the career development of fellow CMCs and performance of the CMC and Command Senior Chief selection boards. During his tour as Detailer, he was responsible for the prudent management of several millions of dollars used to transfer CMCs and their families from duty station to duty station. He also traveled to the various fleet concentration areas and overseas to attend conferences and provide his perspective of the health of the CMC community.
Tim’s final tour was as the CMC of Carrier Air Wing-ONE (CVW-1) at Oceana Master Jet Base in Virginia Beach VA. Although his staff was only 35 personnel, they were responsible for all aspects of combining over 2200 Sailors and Navy Officers and their 68+ aircraft spread across the country into a cohesive fighting unit. During his tour, CVW-1 conducted multiple work-up deployments to air bases in New Mexico and Nevada and in USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) where they deployed twice to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Arabian Gulf.
CMDCM(SW/AW) Gudge retired from active duty in 2008 and became a civilian Defense Contractor overseeing the installation of new technologies in the Navy’s Gas Turbine Cruisers and Destroyers. Tim and Terry maintained residency in Chesapeake VA until 2021 when he officially “retired” and they moved to Elkhorn WI to be closer to their sons and their respective families. Tim joined Elkhorn VFW Post 6375 in 2022 and became a Life Member in 2023.
How are you #StillServing?
Active in local post recruiting, and spreading the message of the VFW at the local fair, flea markets, and down town events. Currently leading funeral detail. Also developed SOP for that.
Why do you do it?
Giving back , and being a part of a mission and cause. Volunteering is a great way to be involved in the community.