William J. "Chief" Thiel, USN (ret.)
Naval Science Instructor
Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (Hydraulics) (AMHC)
Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (AW)
Chief Thiel enlisted in the Navy in Feb 1980 and attended Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Ill. Following recruit training; he was assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Nine (HC-9) at NAS North Island, San Diego, CA. While with HC-9, he advanced from seaman recruit to Petty Officer 3rd Class. In June of 1982, he was ordered to sea duty with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Six (HS-6). During his tenure with HS-6, he deployed twice onboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and advanced to AMH2. In September of 1985, he transferred to shore duty and his first tour as an Instructor. As the training coordinator for HSL-31 FRAMP, he was performing at the level of a Senior Chief. During this tenure, he qualified as an Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist.
In June of 1989, Chief had the opportunity to transfer to NAS Whidbey Island, WA. Following training at VAQ-129 FRAMP, he reported to VAQ-140 where he was advanced to AMH1. Chief held numerous billets during his tenure with the Patriots which helped him move to the top of the ranks. Chief was selected to work in Maintenance Control as the Flight Deck Coordinator. Chief was the only First Class qualified to sign aircraft “Safe for Flight”. This assisted in his selection as the squadron’s Sailor of the Year which placed him in the running for the Commander Medium Attack, Tactical Electronic Warfare Wing Pacific Fleet (COMMATVAQWINGPAC) Sailor of the Year competition which he was selected as the #1 Sea Duty Sailor out of 15 Sea Duty Squadrons at Whidbey. During this tour of duty, Chief deployed twice and was part of the USS Eisenhower battle group and the first carrier on station during Operation Desert Shield and later deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. In January of 1993 Chief transferred to NAMTRADET for his second tour of Instructor duty. Completing a very successful tour with VAQ-140, he was selected and initiated to Chief. He held the position of Leading Instructor for the AM rate group during this tenure. In March 1996 it was time to go back to sea duty and the Black Ravens of VAQ-135 were honored to have him. Chief then retired from the Navy in March of 2000. Chief deployed 6 times aboard 7 different aircraft carriers on both coasts. Ports of call included Hawaii, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kenya, Australia, Tasmania, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Spain, France, and England.
Chief Thiel wears the following awards, EAWS wings, Navy Commendation Medal (2 awards), Navy Achievement Medal (3 Awards), Good Conduct Medal (5 Awards), and numerous unit awards.
Chief Thiel has been teaching the NJROTC program from July 2000 to July 2005 at Mariner High School in Everett, WA, and Oak Harbor High School from July 2005 to present. Chief received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2009. Chief was selected as the Oak Harbor School District Employee of the Year for SY 2011-2012. Chief was selected as the Washington (state) Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Teacher of the Year (high school level) for the 2019-2020 school year.