To celebrate Veterans Day this year, EM is highlighting former service members who have joined EM on their journey in civilian work-life!

What is your name and what do you do at EM?

Eric Larsen, Idaho Cleanup Project, Decontamination and Decommissioning Program Manager

Military photo of Eric Larsen
Eric Larsen

What branch did you serve in; when; where stationed?

Served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1986 to 1993 and in the Navy Reserve from 2000 to 2022 (retired on October 24). Stationed in Orlando, Florida for Nuclear Power School, then Idaho for Prototype training. 1990 – 1993 Reactor Operator aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Gurnard (SSN-662) out of San Diego, California. Went on “West PAC” in 1992 and visited ports in Guam; Chinhae, South Korea; Pattaya, Thailand; Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan (submarines don’t go to a lot of ports). I was commissioned in 2005 as a limited duty officer in the Navy Reserve. Sent on 3 Middle East deployments: Kuwait (2008), Iraq (2009) and Bahrain (2020). 

Most memorable event/moment during your service?

There have been a lot of memorable events in my 29 years of service, but I’ll never forget the first time we came under indirect fire in Iraq. I am not a combat guy. I was sent to Taji, Iraq to run a prison for insurgents. Anyway, we got hit with a rocket attack and I remember thinking, “These guys are really trying to kill me. I’m a good guy. They wouldn’t shoot at me if they knew me!” I know it sounds silly, but that’s what went through my head as dove into the shelter.

How has your military service helped prepare you for the job you do in EM?

Everything I am today, I owe to the U.S. Navy. They trained me in nuclear engineering and taught me a very disciplined way of thinking, of problem solving. This has been excellent preparation for oversight of the nuclear mission at the Department of Energy. 

When did you begin working for EM and what got you interested in the cleanup mission?

I started at DOE-Idaho in October 2006. I had been working as a refueling manager at Naval Reactors Facility and my friend and mentor Brad Davis told me about some openings for facility representatives at EM-Idaho. A lot of shipmates from the Navy were working there and it seemed like a good fit. I have absolutely no regrets. 

Read more EM Veteran Interviews