How a combat tanker became a police officer | Editor's Note

By Sara Bruestle | Nov 09, 2016

It’s a Mukilteo Beacon tradition for the editor to attend the Endeavour Elementary’s Veterans Day assembly.

The annual assembly serves as a reminder to students that Veterans Day is a holiday to celebrate the service of those who served and are serving in the U.S. military.

As with the previous editor, a teacher invites me to the assembly for a story and/or photo.

I go for the story or photo – after all, that’s my job – but I also go to celebrate the service of all U.S. veterans with students and staff.

This year’s Veterans Day assembly, held on Nov. 4, featured a speech by Myron Travis, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who is the public information and crime prevention officer for the Mukilteo Police Department.

“I loved being in the Marine Corps, I loved serving the country,” Travis said. “A lot of morals and values were instilled in me throughout those years that I still hold to this day.”

Travis, 52, served in the Marine Corps for three years. He joined the Marines right after high school. He was 17 years old.

“I was impressed with the level of discipline and the structure of the military,” Travis said. “College wasn’t in my immediate plans, so I joined the Marine Corps.”

He trained to become a combat tanker at the Army base in Fort Knox, Ky. He graduated from Tank School in 1982.

“At the time, I was 5 foot 10 inches and 140 pounds, so they wanted me to go into tanks,” Travis said. “There’s limited room inside, so you need to be smaller to be able to function and get in and out of the tank.”

He was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, where he served as a tank driver, loader and gunner. He was promoted to tank commander in 1984. He was still a teenager.

“In my last year, I was the youngest tank commander to score higher than anybody during my tank qualification. My crew was shooting targets from a mile away.”

On April 18, 1983, a suicide bomber crashed a truck into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, detonating 2,000 pounds of explosives. The blast killed 63, including 17 Americans.

Travis was about to be deployed following the Beirut embassy bombing when a covert rescue mission failed. His crew’s deployment was canceled.

“That was one of the more intense moments in my entire career,” he said. “Me and my tank crew were … waiting for the word. We looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, in a minute it will be time to go to work.’ We were prepared for combat, but we didn’t end up going.”

Travis was honorably discharged as a corporal in 1984. He started his law enforcement career in Detroit the next year.

He joined the Mukilteo Police Department last year after working for the Detroit Police Department for 29 years.

He served as a patrol officer, gang enforcement officer and dispatcher in Detroit. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1999.

Travis was named Detroit’s Officer of the Year in 1987, and also received awards for saving a life, two department citations and three departmental commendations throughout his career.

He left Detroit for Mukilteo after meeting Cheol Kang, the commander and interim chief of the Mukilteo Police Department. Kang serves in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Kang, who is a commander in the Navy Reserve, was in Detroit for Navy Week three years ago while Travis was serving as the Detroit Police Department liaison for the weeklong event. (The event brings the Navy to cities throughout the U.S. that don’t have naval stations.)

“Two years ago, he reached out to me,” Travis said. “He asked if I would be interested in being an officer in Mukilteo. I was looking for a reason to leave Detroit, so I applied for the job. It was perfect timing.”

Travis said he enjoys working for the Mukilteo Police Department because it is “small” and “intimate,” not unlike when he was serving on a four-person crew as a combat tanker in the Marine Corps.

“I love it here,” he said. “It’s a small enough agency that you still have that sense of camaraderie.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." – Alexander Hamilton

CALL OF THE WEEK: From Anne Steinmetz, property manager at Gallery Homes: “That’s really cool that you got to meet Mr. Soup [‘Joel McHale is my best friend,’ Editor’s Note, page 4, Nov. 2]. That’s how I know him, from that show. I enjoyed reading about that.”

EMAIL OF THE WEEK: From Rich Steward aka “Proton”: “I just wanted to tell you how well written your Pacific Crest Trail article was [‘Hiker, in solitude, discovers the best in people,’ front page, Oct. 5]. I really loved it. Thank you so much for doing such a terrific job in such a short time. You are amazing!”

POLICE LOG OF THE WEEK: While on patrol, an officer witnessed a two-vehicle collision in the 10500 block of the Mukilteo Speedway. Vehicle 1 turned northbound in to the southbound lane on the Speedway and crashed into Vehicle 2. The driver failed standard field sobriety tests. She was arrested for DUI and reckless driving. She was booked into the Snohomish County Jail.

FIRE LOG OF THE WEEK: Medics responded to a home in the 11600 block of Harbour Pointe Boulevard on Halloween. A caller reported that a boy became ill while trick-or-treating at their door. He was checked out and released to a parent.

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