Lt. Col. (USMC, Ret.) Rob Irvine, who graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy’s Pine Beach campus in 1970, recently announced his retirement after putting in over 30 years of counterintelligence and human intelligence for the U.S. Armed Forces. His most recent assignment came as the Defense Intelligence Senior Leader (DISL), Strategic Advisor to Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Intelligence, which he took over in January 2015. Previously, he served as the founding Director of the Coast Guard Counterintelligence Service from November 2004 to January 2015.
REVEILLE: As the great proverb goes, the journey begins with the first step. In looking back on your journey, how integral was your first step? How important of a role did Farragut play in your journey?
IRVINE: “Farragut deeply ingrained in me the importance of self-discipline, education, teamwork, and leadership which I would eventually come to know as the (Marine) Corps values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.”
REVEILLE: At what point did you decide you wanted to join the Marine Corps? What did you dream of being before making this decision?
IRVINE: “I actually was leaning towards the Marine Corps while attending Farragut. My cousin was a Marine and was killed in Vietnam during my sophomore year. Also, I was the anchor at Farragut (class standing of 53 out of 53) and found it a little challenging to gain admission to college. I thought I wanted to be a pilot but didn’t have any immediate plans. I met my future wife, LuAnn Lawless, and worked for her father who was a contractor before enlisting in the Marine Corps. I attended boot camp at Parris Island in July of 1971.
REVEILLE: Why is the naval tradition at Farragut so important to the growth and development of young men and women? How does it effectively capture this tradition? How important was this tradition to your character?
IRVINE: “Farragut played a critical role in the successes I achieved throughout my career both as an active duty Marine and as a civilian with the Coast Guard. As a Farragut Midshipman, a Marine, and a Coastie, I came to understand the importance of taking care of people and their families and the role they play in our successes. More importantly I had been privileged to serve alongside the finest men and women our country has to offer. Their professionalism and dedication were directly responsible, along with my wife who has been my toughest critic and my staunchest supporter, for my achievements.
REVEILLE: What was your most endearing moment at Farragut and then in the field?
IRVINE: “At Farragut: the mutual trust and friendship fostered with classmates like Ed Bartle and teachers during my three years. I also have many fond memories of Coaches Stan Slaby and Bob Hunt. In the field: having a chance encounter with two classmates. I reconnected with Rick Koch, Class of 1969 and a also a Marine, in Okinawa, Japan and with Rusty Acree, Class of 1970, football teammate and naval officer, at the ECAC Football Officials Clinic in Virginia.”