“My time in the Navy was never a job—it was a calling,” retired U.S. Navy Captain Frank Buerger ’73 told students gathered for the College’s Callings program on Tuesday. “I brought three things to every job I did—passion, persistence, and pride.”

Buerger also met with students in an informal gathering later Tuesday afternoon before delivering his evening talk, “What Americans Need to Know.” We’ll include a report about that presentation from the College’s Democracy Fellows in an updated version of this story.

Here’s some background: Buerger flew the F-4J Phantom and F-14A Tomcat and was the operations officer of a fighter squadron during Desert Storm. Along with service in several other fighter squadrons, he was commander of a United Nations Air Base in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

After serving as an Air Analyst on the Strategic Studies Team for the Atlantic Intelligence Command, Buerger joined the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and served as the defense and naval attaché to both Japan and the Netherlands. Thereafter, he was chief of the China Forces Branch of the DIA’s Directorate of Intelligence Analysis, and chief of the Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Enabling Staff.

Buerger deployed to Iraq, where he served as chief of the Operations Management Branch of HUMINT and Counterintelligence Directorate, as well as Afghanistan, where he was the director of the Consolidated Stability Operations Center and deputydirector of the Civilian-Military Integration Program.

Currently he serves as staff director of the Defense Intelligence Office.

Originally from Evansville, IN, Buerger earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and also graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College and the Japanese National Institute.