Matthew Tylicki has led quite a life since he graduated from Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School. In fact, Tylicki did more things in a 20 year span than most people get to do in a lifetime.
The 1986 graduate has been all over the world, spending time in the Mediterranean, Latin America, Europe, Asia and various places in the United States; even living on the island of Sicily for two years. And though he currently does advanced work for Lockheed Martin– one of the leading companies in the technology world – many people gravitate toward the fact he has worked for the White House Military Office, supporting the Office of the President of the United States for multiple years.
And Tylicki is quick to credit the Navy for many of his accomplishments.
“It never ceases to amaze me, the opportunities that the military gives you for leadership,” said Tylicki. “And for that point, leadership under pressure too. That’s one of the intangible things that you get out of the military. It is something that you won’t necessarily get on the outside.”
During his time in the Navy, Tylicki was not only given the opportunity to travel the world, he also spent a lot of time being educated. Throughout his service, Tylicki spent more than three years in the classroom studying electronics with emphasis on satellite communications technology.
And with every chance Tylicki was given learn about technology, he never let the Navy down as he excelled as a student. Throughout his years in the military, Tylicki was consistently at the top of his class when it came to education. And his hard work in the classroom and work ethic in the field were rewarded consistently when it came time to choose assignments and where he wanted to apply his skills.
Those two things also helped lead him to very unexpected places.
“The military was very good about recognizing and rewarding hard work. Because of my record (evaluations, awards, and other documents that go into your permanent record ) I was, without my knowledge, selected for a group called the White House Communications Agency (WHCA),” said Tylicki. “Their job is to provide the communications for the White House staff, the Secret Service and the President while he is on the road, away from the White House. I was also one of the lucky few to be assigned to the communications detachment at Camp David.”
“That was an incredible job,” Tylicki went on to say. “I spent the first year wondering around just in awe that I was even there. It was just incredible.” During his time at Camp David, Tylicki supported numerous visits by Presidents Clinton and Bush (43) as well as many other foreign heads of state. “The high point of my tour was supporting the second Camp David Peace Accords held between Israel and the Palestinians in 2000.”
Tylicki’s time working at WHCA was not easy though. He was constantly on the road, and Sept. 11, 2001 led to three straight months of work without a day off. But despite the long days he often put in, Tylicki had to make one last tour out to sea before retiring.
That assignment also led to an experience of a lifetime.
While on his final deployment, Tylicki’s ship, USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81), was the first to rescue a ship crew that had their ship overtaken by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2006. It was the first of many times the United States Navy would help out with such missions.
Now, after spending 20 years in the Navy, Tylicki does work for Lockheed Martin. But while he may no longer be enlisted, he still is a huge supporter of the armed forces. He currently has a son who is planning to enlist and wants others – including students at Stritch and other catholic schools – to consider making the same move he made almost 30 years ago.
“Especially for those who don’t feel they’re ready for college yet, or they don’t know how they are going to pay for it, or maybe they just want to get out and do something different while they are young, I think that the military is a really good path to follow,” said Tylicki. “For some people this may seem like an opposing view [Catholic education vice military career], personally I think, especially coming from a Catholic school, the values instilled at a Catholic school are very much aligned with the values that the military instills in their people.”
Those values include: honor, personal courage, commitment, sacrifice, selfless service, respect, integrity, duty. “These are all values that any Christian will recognize,” said Tylicki. “And they are the same values that the military lives out every day.”
(— from St. Kateri Catholic Schools)