Brooklyn native takes pride in Navy experience

Yang Xi| Staff Delvora King served in Guantanamo Bay and Hawaii and used her experiences in the Navy as life lessons.

Assistant Director, Student Union

Service: 1985 – 1989

Branch: U.S. Navy

Delvora King grew up in the melting pot of all cultures: New York City.

After graduating from high school, King attended community college, but didn’t care much for any major. She started working for an insurance company in Manhattan as a claims adjustor, but soon realized there was more out there for her to explore.

“Brooklyn — where I grew up — was nice but there were other things out there in the world that I wanted to experience, and although I enjoyed working for the insurance company, I guess I had this adventurous gnawing,” King said. “I thought to myself ‘Do you want to be that person? Do you want to be that New Yorker who has never left because you’re just so connected or do you want to go out and see what’s going on?’”

When she turned 23, King decided to enroll in the military, but she wanted to join either the Air Force or the Navy rather than the Army or Marines which involve a lot more brute force, she said.

Out of boot camp, King’s first assignment was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After 11 months, she trained at San Diego, and then was assigned to Hawaii.

King welcomed the varied experiences she had in the Navy.

“I really enjoyed the fact that I got to meet people from different walks of life, different cultures,” she said.

Toward the end, King was assigned to communications, which involved encrypting and decrypting classified messages. She had to have high-level security clearance as well as practice caution in  who she associated with on the base.

After Hawaii, she would have had to go on board a ship and work from the depths of the vessel as she worked her technical job in communications.

“It was an interesting experience in that I was taught that skill, but I’m a people person,” she said. “I think of myself as being rather altruistic, and it was very confining.”

That was when she decided she was going to leave the force. After a brief stint as a social service worker in Florida, she moved to Texas, finished her education at Richland College and took her job at UTD.

King said she never found it hard to survive in a man’s world, nor did she think it was hard to come back as a civilian.

“I actually felt quite wealthy in what I was going back into the civilian world with, better equipped to be in a civilian world, certainly than when I left,” King said.

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