Eric Schultz was born and raised in Sutter Creek, CA, a small town of about 2,000 people. He decided to join the United States Navy straight out of high school, at the age of 18. For Eric, joining the Navy seemed like a positive way to branch out from his small town and see more of the world. He served in the Navy for 20 years, was able to live in various locations in the United States, raised a family, traveled the world, and now speaks very fondly of his time in the service and how it impacted his life.
Eric met his wife Stephanie while stationed in Long Beach, CA during his first years in the Navy. Throughout the 20 years that would follow, they were stationed in Bremerton, WA, San Diego, CA, and Oahu, HI. Eric and Stephanie had 2 daughters, Amber and Bella, and immersed themselves into the Navy family community so that wherever they were felt like home for the girls. Eric stated, “Oahu was my favorite of all the places we were stationed. The friends we made during our time there really became family.”
Eric had a wide variety of duties throughout his time in the Navy which included driving the ship and small boats, rigging, directing helicopters for landing, training, and painting and other preservation duties for the ship. He noted, “Prior to the service, I had never had a job before. The work I did, the traveling, and the comradery with my fellow service men and women taught me responsibility, how to get along with other people and other cultures, and the value of trust and friendship.”
When he retired after 20 years, Eric decided to take time off to be a stay-at-home Dad for his daughters who were 15 and 7 at the time. “I felt like I missed a lot when they were growing up so I wanted to make time for them. Luckily my wife and I were able to make that happen.” He remains active and enjoys being a “band parent” for his oldest daughter and volunteering at his younger daughter’s school. In October of 2015, he started working at Elite Aviation Products as an Assembly Technician. It has been a positive experience for him so far, and he feels the people at Elite are what has made it such a great place to work. Because of his time in the Navy, he understands that there is a chain of command and respects this and the roles each member on the Elite team plays. He most closely relates to Elite’s Core Value of Excellence in All We Do as close attention to detail, high quality, and providing excellent customer service all mean something to him after his time in the service.
For those recently ending their service in the military and entering the work force, Eric offered, “Stay positive and focused on what you want. It takes patience, but opportunities you don’t expect will come your way.” The VFW and VA Long Beach Healthcare System have been valuable resources for him as a veteran in recent years. He would recommend the United States Navy to young people based how beneficial it was for him, “You make great friends and get to see places in the world you might not have gotten to see otherwise."