US Naval Officer | Christian Tan

Achintya Pinninti, Sports Editor


After graduating from Irvington in 2009, naval officer Christian Tan went to UCSD and majored in Biochemistry, considering both pre-med and chemical engineering as possible pathways in the future. However, after his freshman year at UCSD, a recruiter routinely contacted him encouraging him to apply for an ROTC scholarship, which would pay his entire tuition with the condition that he enlist right after he graduated. After being accepted for the scholarship, Christian chose the navy as his path for the future.

Looking back at his high school experiences, Christian’s fondest memories were with the swim team, in which he participated for 4 years. Going to Washington DC, and later, Sacramento for We The People Regionals are also some of his best memories. In high school, Christian took as many APs as he could including AP Biology, AP Calculus, APUSH and AP Physics 1. Though he never failed a class, he found some STEM classes more difficult than others and felt that humanities were easier for him. His favorite teachers were Mrs. Cool-Kalio and Mrs. Jorgensen.

After college, Christian completed his indoctrination week at San Diego Naval base. Indoctrination week is like a ten-day introduction to the Navy. It teaches a lot of military etiquettes and also includes a lot of shouting. Christian said that his indoctrination week was the hardest part of his naval career since it was quite rigorous and the change is rapid. According to Christian, nothing really prepares you for that kind of a change. Christian said you had to be able to take directions and make decisions quickly while being shouted at, which adds to the stressfulness. Christian claimed that the hardest part of his naval career was “being able to think quickly, pay attention to detail, and being able to take a direction and internalize it.” Throughout his naval career, Christian learned that time management and independence were more crucial than ever.

Looking back at his choice of joining the navy, Christian is happy with the decisions he made and believes that they developed his character and gave him lifelong memories. However, everything has its pros and cons. The con of serving in the navy was that it took a lot of time away from his family. Christian got married last year and has not been able to spend time with his wife because he is deployed on a ship, while she is in San Diego.

After the navy, Christian wants to go back to college and pursue an education in space exploration. In high school, Christian wasn’t sure if he could be a good engineer because he felt like he didn’t have the skills necessary. However, after working in the nuclear reactor room of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, Christian believes that he has obtained the experience and skills necessary to be a good engineer.

Christian believes that college was not the end goal of his life, and did not let his challenges daunt him. Looking forward, Christian says that his personal goal is to continue to grow, develop, and progress as a person.