Michael Koenig served in the US Navy from 2009 to 2019

Mr. Koenig served on the aircraft carriers USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Nimitz, both nuclear powered supercarriers of the United States Navy.

Michael Koenig chose to enlist in the Navy because “…the Air Force never called me; the Marine Corp never called me, and the Army just didn’t seem like a good fit for me.” He served as an Aviation Support Equipment Technician.  He achieved Navy Expert Rifle Medal and was involved in the Global War on Terrorism. 

He served three tours in the Persian Gulf and endured temperatures up to 140 degrees, where “all you can do is sweat and go to work for 12 hours a day… you really find out who you are, who your friends are on that ship when you’re stuck on it- an aircraft carrier- for 8 months.”

He said, “Usually when you head out on deployment you get one liberty port on your way there.” Mr. Koenig got his on Pattaya Beach, Thailand, on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand.  The ship would pull in for four days, three days of liberty and one of duty.  He described it as “One big party area... it’s there because of the Vietnam War, Sailors and Marines and Army needed a place to go… as ports go, it could have been better.”  He also visited Bahrain and Dubai.  

On his second deployment on the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln he was sailing from Everett Washington to the state of Virginia, all the way around the world.  They pulled into the port at Antalya Turkey, the largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast outside the Aegean region. On the last night, one of his buddies wanted to see the sights and needed a “liberty buddy” so Mr. Koenig agreed to accompany him.  He said he could see the city and the cliffs in a crescent shape while the sun was setting, “It was one of the most awesome sights I have ever seen.”  Mr. Koenig said that was the place he would rather go back to than any of his many travels- more than Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai or Bahrain. 

Another of his fond memories involved going to Hawaii. “When you pull into Pearl Harbor you sail by the USS Arizona Memorial.  Whenever you do that you render arms; salute the ship in passing because of the service members who are still on board today.”  Mr. Koenig said it’s the only time he performed a proper salute since boot camp, and he held if for about 15 minutes as they sailed by, paying respects to those who lost their lives and are still on the ship since December 7, 1941.  He had his nephew Caleb on board, who got to see their daily routines as sailors, as well as a squadron of fighter jets do a fly-by, breaking the sound barrier.  Caleb was in the front row, right at the edge of the ship.  “To see his face and the smile he had… that was the coolest thing.”