Invasion of Privacy: Former electronic warfare technician shares exciting naval experience

Senior Brendan Moran isn't your typical Geneseo student. In fact, he seems to have more in common with James Bond than with the frantically scurrying aspiring academics who have just one more test this week, man!

You see, Moran used to be in the Navy - he even had a totally awe-inspiring title: electronic warfare technician, specializing in missile defense. That's right: the man literally lived the plot of a video game.

"I started off as a deck seaman busting rust and chipping paint," he said. "Then I worked my way up to electronic warfare where we worked in a combat information center. There's really not much more I can say about that."

Why not? "Because it's classified," he said.

Moran saw action in several combat operations, most notably Operation: Shock and Awe, the naval bombardment of Iraq.

"I was on a supply ship, called the USS Rainier, which was an AOE-7 designation," he said. Moran explained that AOE stands for Auxiliary Oil and Explosives and that his ship carried fuel and bombs. "We were essentially a big, floating 7-Eleven," he said.

"During Shock and Awe there were three U.S. carrier battle groups in the Persian Gulf," Moran said. "While the battle groups ran strike operations in the northern Gulf, we'd go down to Dubai, pick up ammo, fuel and food and transport it back to the northern Gulf and replenish the battle groups."

In the post-9/11 world, it's common to see yellow ribbons pasted to the backs of cars with signs on the windows and POW/MIA flags flying in front of houses. It was different before those attacks, though.

"When I got back from my first deployment," Moran said, "it was before Sept. 11, and we came back to a Navy town. There's a lot of animosity there between civilians and sailors. We actually got back Sept. 10, 2001. I had a girl come up to me at a club and tell me I am wrong for being in the military, supporting the war for oil ..."

"But," he said, "after Sept. 11, everyone was really patriotic and supported the military, even if they didn't support the government's decisions. Today I think everyone still supports the troops. I mean, they're not coming up shaking your hand, but they still say thank you for defending the country, and they'll still buy you a beer."

Moran said that the Navy has played an extremely important role in his life. The first time he enrolled in college, he struggled and eventually decided to enlist instead. "[Making mistakes in college] is not the end of the world," he said, encouraging freshman to be optimistic and realize that there are many worthy paths to take in life.

The now 31-year-old International Relations major - with a focus on war and peace studies - said that he will pursue a career in government intelligence … or something along those lines. He can't really say.

It's classified.

Ed. Note: The "Sunburn" missile mentioned in the Invasion of Privacy was incorrectly designated as "SS-M-22;" the missile actually carries the "SS-N-22" designation.