TAPS: CAPT (Ret) Thomas Whittles Passes Away Unexpectedly

CAPT (Ret) Thomas Whittles passed away during the early morning hours of 10 November during the passage of hurricane Nicole through Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Tom retired as an Intelligence Special Duty Officer in 2013 after over 40 years of service. Joining the Navy in 1972 as a quartermaster, he started developing his lengthy list of sea stories by serving on the USNS Harkness (TAGS-32) and the original USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931) in the Mediterranean before going to Northeastern University and earning his degree and a reserve commission as a 1635.  

As a reservist in the 1980s and 1990s, he served as photo reconnaissance officer at VP-92, Air Intelligence Officer with VAW-77 and VAW-78, as a targeteer at FICEURLANT/Atlantic Intelligence Command, a maritime analyst at JTF-Four/JIATF-South, and as a resource sponsor on the OPNAV-N20 Staff. This is an incomplete listing of all his reserve assignments and orders.

After 11 September 2001, CAPT Whittles "followed the guns" and took on an extensive series of active duty orders in Southwest Asia combat zones with extended assignments in at Central Command HQ in Tampa as the commanding officer of the JICCENT 0382 reserve unit, active duty deputy commander for the Joint Intelligence Operation Center (JIOC) and as the active duty DJ2 for the Central Command Staff. He deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and with the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, where he commanded JIOC-Afghanistan between 2009 and 2010.

When not on active duty, CAPT Whittles worked as a civilian at ONI, OPNAV-N20 and the OPNAV N2N6 Staff/Naval Intelligence Activity until he retired from civilian service in 2016.

CAPT Whittles was a Naval Intelligence - and Naval Intelligence Reserve - legend. Post 9/11, many active duty component officers would often joke they were not aware Tom was a Reservist because of his near continuous presence in uniform, significant network of warfighters, seamless integration into multiple new commands, and sustained superior performance in extraordinary circumstance. In short, he was the exemplar for our Naval Intelligence Reserve component.

He is survived by his wife of 48 year, Maureen Whittles, his daughter Michelle, and his son, Marc, a former combat Marine.  

A Memorial Service took place on Monday, Dec 5, at 12:00 pm with burial at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery following at 2:30 pm. Donations in place of flowers may be sent to Wounded Warriors, Semper Fi & America’s Fund, Tunnel to Towers Foundation, or the US Navy Memorial

His full obituary can be found at: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/merritt-island-fl/thomas-whittles-11025936

A legend in Naval Intelligence and in life…he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.