Steve Bannon, appointed chef strategist and an elderly counselor to President-elect Donald Trump, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, for the presidential Inauguration the Trump. (Saul Loeb/Pool photograph via AP)
It"s been nearly 40 years since President Donald Trump"s cook White home strategist Stephen Bannon reported because that duty as a young surface ar warfare officer plank a marine destroyer. The was just a couple of years after ~ the end of the Vietnam war and under president Jimmy Carter, many Navy ships to be undermanned at the moment and throughout the armed forces complaints around a "hollow force" were common. during Bannon"s seven-year insignificant in the Navy, things would adjust rapidly. Ronald Reagan ended up being president in 1980 and set out to develop a 600-ship Navy. Military pay to be raised, morale improved and also there was plenty of opportunity for development in the cultivation Cold War-era force. Bannon would ultimately rise to the location of lieutenant and served in the Pentagon"s E-Ring. It to be an suffer that shaped the views of a guy who is now Trump"s chief strategist. While Bannon left the Navy together junior officer and also went on come a job in business and media, Trump newly elevated Bannon to full membership ~ above the national Security Council, a relocate that stunned countless in Washington who question the conservative activist"s qualifications. ~ above Sunday, White house spokesman Sean Spicer pointed come Bannon"s 7 years as a navy officer in justifying his existence in those high-level meetings. When not giving actual advice come the president, Spicer said Bannon rather presents the commander in chief v independent analysis of intelligence.
"Well, he is a previous naval officer," Spicer said around Bannon ~ above ABC"s "This Week." "He"s gained a tremendous knowledge of the world and the political geography landscape the we have now."
"Having the cook strategist for the president in those meetings, who has a far-ranging military background, to aid make, guide what the president"s final analysis is going to be, is crucial," Spicer said.


021029-N-0120R-004At sea with USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964) Oct. 29, 2002 -- The destroyer USS Paul F. Foster transforms away after an attempt to replenish fuel indigenous the armed forces Sealift Command delivery (MSC) USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204). The seas were as well high and also conditions too rough come safely execute a reserved replenishment at sea (RAS). Later in the day, quieter seas permitted the 2 ships to connect and complete your mission. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate third Class wilhelm H. Ramsey. (RELEASED)

The guided-missile destroyer Paul F. Foster in turbulent waters when on deployment in 2002, shortly before the ship was decommissioned. Optimal advisor to chairman Donald Trump offered on the Foster in the 1970"s and also 80"s throughout his first tour in the Navy.

Photo Credit: Navy

The navy Personnel Command provided Navy Times v Bannon"s official Navy records, which has dates the service, rank and also specialty and also the commands he served at and awards and also decorations he earned. The marine did no release Bannon"s officer fitness reports that detail his on-the-job performance, i beg your pardon are typically not made public as result of privacy concerns. yet the main chronology, along with interviews through Navy officers acquainted with Bannon"s service, expose a young marine officer on the rise and also one that was in ~ times working in close proximity come Pentagon power brokers together a staffer for 2 chiefs of marine operations. "Regardless that one"s politics ethos, every you require to know is the he"s among us — a sailor," said among Bannon"s former shipmates, retired rear Adm. Edward "Sonny" Masso, who finished his career commanding the navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn. Bannon to visit Officer Candidate institution in Newport R.I., and was commissioned in the summer of 1977. Masso met him soon afterward in ~ the surface Warfare Officer institution in September. "We sat alongside each other throughout the course and also we both got orders to the Spruance-class destroyer Paul F. Foster," Masso stated of Bannon in an interview v Navy Times last year.
Bannon was ordered to the destroyer Paul F. Foster on Feb. 3, 1978, according to his official record, and he would spend the better part of the next three years on board the ship deploying double to the west Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Bannon"s first job top top the delivery was as the assistant officer, running the ship"s "A Gang" as component of the engineering department, where he to be responsible for everything yet the key engines, consisting of generators, water purifiers and also auxiliary propulsion in countless cases.

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Later, Bannon moved topside to offer as the ship"s navigator and personnel officer, Masso said. Masso said he and also Bannon both standard as surface Warfare Officers and got their pins while stationed plank the Foster. in ~ sea on the destroyer, Bannon remained in the Persian Gulf in 1980, stand watch as the delivery escorted the aircraft carrier Nimitz into the Gulf at a time when, unknown to Bannon, U.S. One-of-a-kind operations troops to be in nearby Iran launching operation Eagle Claw, the botched rescue mission make the efforts to cost-free the 52 American hostages seized ~ Iran"s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Frequently known together the "Desert One debacle," the mission failed, an plane crashed and also eight American service members were killed.
"We were an extremely junior officers, at the time, and it wasn"t anything us were clued in on in ~ the time," Masso recalled. "We discovered out later that it had gone ~ above — however we were there in the shit as soon as it happened."
return from deployment, Bannon"s tourism on the Foster to be at one end and he"d shortly transfer. While on board that ship, his records show he qualified for three awards come wear ~ above his dress uniform — the Sea service Deployment Ribbon and also a marine "E" Ribbon along with a a navy Expeditionary Medal. In addition to his surface ar warfare officer"s pin, these space the only "chest candy" listed in his official personnel file. but a note in Bannon"s Navy records says the list of awards "reflects only those awards and also citations existing in the company member"s Official military Personnel file and detailed in the marine Department Awards Web company site and may no be complete."

After around three year on sea duty, Bannon to be hand picked for a very coveted billet to job-related on the employee of the chief of naval operations at the Pentagon.

Even in the much larger Navy of the 1980s, billets on the CNO"s staff were not easy to come by. Then, together today, junior police officers are nominated by an elderly members the their ar for this jobs and also Bannon was selected.

"To achieve this form of billet reflects as an officer he to be at the peak of his game at this suggest in his career," claimed a currently serving Navy main at the Pentagon around Bannon"s nomination. The official asked to remain anonymous together he was not authorized come speak openly about Bannon"s career.

Bannon report to the Pentagon on Jan. 12, 1981, simply eight days before Reagan"s inauguration. Bannon was still a lieutenant, small grade in ~ the time, however was supported to complete lieutenant 6 months later.

Bannon"s time on the CNO"s staff overlapped two chief" of marine operations, an initial working for Adm. Thomas Hayward and later for the late Adm. James Watkins. Specifically, Bannon worked for the CNO"s executive, management board, a collection of an elderly naval officers who noted guidance and evaluation to the Navy"s height officer.

In the Cold War-era Navy, just like today, top Pentagon staffs are filled with young naval police officers being groomed by their communities for greater positions. Though no official record exists around what Bannon did throughout his time ~ above the CNO"s staff, marine officials say it"s most likely Bannon was doing study on a wide variety of topics impacting navy operations worldwide.
Bannon was a "fly ~ above the wall" witness to how decisions in ~ the greatest levels the the marine were made in ~ the time, Masso said..
"When he was on the OPNAV staff, that attended Georgetown college at night, studying international affairs and also earning a master"s degree," Masso said "This guy was exceptional — exactly how many human being have a busy, 12-hour job at the Pentagon and also then go to Georgetown college at night? come me, that says a lot about this guy." Bannon left the Navy as a sublievenant on Oct. 30, 1983. He later attended Harvard organization School and also went to job-related for Goldman Sachs invest bank. Bannon is most renowned as the peak executive because that Breitbart News, a conservative news and also opinion website often associated with white nationalism. Like many sailors, Bannon was steeped in Navy culture and underwent the rite of passage to come to be a "shellback," an initial crossing the equator in the Pacific s on June 5, 1980. Masso recalled the ceremony.

"Steve to be a polliwog," Masso said, making use of the Navy"s term for an inexperienced seafarer who has actually never overcome the equater. "We had actually a an excellent time with him and also other wog"s during the ceremony. Steve"s was Larry Sagge and he to be the imperial Baby," Masso said, introduce to a central figure in the ceremony.

"Many earlier then had "mature" waistlines and also the intuitive of Steve kissing the royal Baby"s stomach is one, regrettably, I"ve never acquired out of mine head," Masso said.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for navy Times. He was a senior writer extending personnel, social and historic issues. A nine-year active duty marine veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a marine Diver and also photographer.


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