CAPT Patricia Cole, USN (Ret) has been in and around the military her entire life. She grew up in a military family and moved frequently during her young childhood years. When she learned from a news broadcast that President Gerald Ford had signed a bill into legislation permitting women to attend the military service academies, she applied for an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. She was accepted for a year-long course of instruction at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon successful completion of the preparatory school, she was admitted to the Naval Academy and subsequently commissioned in May of 1982 as part of the third class of women to graduate from the institution.
Patricia went on to serve 30 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy across a wide range of command and staff assignments in both the United States and overseas. Initially commissioned as a general unrestricted line officer, she was later designated as an Information Professional in 2010 and held a number of communications, leadership and management positions. Her various military duty assignments included tours in Norfolk, VA where she was Current Operations Director at NETWARCOM; in Manama, Bahrain as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Communications for FIFTH FLEET; aboard the USS BLUE RIDGE homeported in Yokosuka, Japan; in La Maddalena, Italy as the Executive Officer for the Naval Support Activity; and in Washington, DC on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as the Special Assistant for Diversity. Her final assignment was as Commanding Officer, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
After leaving active duty in 2012, Patricia wanted to pursue a second career that not only leveraged the skills she acquired during her military service, but also one that would allow her to continue supporting veterans. She looked to the world of not-for-profit organizations and joined the staff of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) in November 2012 as Deputy Director, Career Transition Services. MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of military officers. As an independent, nonprofit, and politically nonpartisan organization, MOAA’s mission is to advocate for the military community and connect it to the nation we serve. While its primary mission is strong advocacy on behalf of veterans and military families, it also has a career transition center to assist veterans who are making the leap from the world of the military into the civilian job market. In her capacity as a deputy director for the transition center, Patricia is proud to serve as a speaker, writer, and counselor on transition challenges and issues that affect veterans, to include resume development, network expansion, interview preparation, and salary negotiation.
Patricia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and a Master of Science degree in Space Systems Operations from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.