Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Or login with Facebook
    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Family, Food and Road Trips: Filipino-American Sailor Finds Balance as a Navy Recruiter in Houston

    NC1 Marvin Tan Screens a Navy Applicant

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Joshua Keim | 210525-N-VH839-1005 HOUSTON (May 25, 2021) Navy Counselor 1st Class Marvin Tan guides...... read more read more



    Story by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Keim 

    Navy Talent Acquisition Group Houston

    HOUSTON (NNS) – Reposed alongside his prized camper overlooking the vast Arizona desert, Marvin Tan plunged into mindful reflection under the stifling Sedona sun. Reminiscing about his journey to the present moment, he could remember hearing tales back in the Philippines about American voyages and watching mighty U.S. warships roll in and out of port on his television screen. His uncles served in the U.S. Navy and would often dazzle his imagination with romantic renditions of the American dream.

    “My uncles influenced me a lot,” Tan recalled. “I had cousins in the Navy as well, and everybody told me about the opportunity to get experience, travel, earn retirement, and provide for my family. That all caught my attention. It was a no brainer.”

    Tan knew early on that he would one day depart General Santos City, known as the tuna capital of the Philippines, and set a bearing toward his own American dream. Decades later, at 46 years old, Navy Counselor 1st Class Marvin Tan is married with three beautiful children all living out their rendition of America’s promise of a better future. Tan is one of tens of thousands of native Filipinos that chose to serve in the U.S. Navy since the close of the Spanish-American War. Since 1900, Filipinos have fought as American Sailors or service members in every conflict involving U.S. armed forces.

    “Everybody wants to move here,” said Tan, referring to other native Filipinos. “When you raise a family and start a career in the United States, you have unlimited potential. I’m better here than I would be in the [Philippines].

    Tan is the leading petty officer of his own recruiting station assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Houston, and he discovered his calling inspiring young men and women to improve their lives by joining the Navy that elevated his.

    “I became a recruiter because I wanted to change people’s lives,” he said, “especially the younger ones. The thing I enjoy the most is finding the younger kids who don’t have a plan and then seeing them in uniform when they come [home from boot camp]. They thank me, and I am proud because their lives are better, their futures are brighter.”

    Forged by the sea and a dream for a better future, Tan created a family and career in the United States. He has found success in the Navy by operating under a set of core principles – family, food and road trips – enlisting his wife and children as his north star.

    “My wife Gayle is my best friend,” Tan said with a smile. “We’ve been married for 17 years. My wife and kids drive me to be successful and push me to do better and stay positive. My family is my cornerstone. Filipino culture is really big on family, family gatherings, reunions and things like that. We’re givers; very hospitable. We get together often and share food, gifts, encourage visitors and feed them, too. That’s our culture. It’s natural for us.”

    Tan said one of the ways he keeps the Filipino spirit alive in his household is by cooking traditional Filipino cuisine for family dinners and social events.

    “We’ll get everyone together like our uncles, cousins, aunts, close friends, everybody,” said Tan. “Everybody will bring their specialty dish, and we’ll exchange gifts and talk about our travels, the good times, reminiscing about the past, and laugh about it. I can cook chicken or pork adobo. My wife is really good at making lumpia and pancit. Noodles from pancit represent a longer life, so Filipinos traditionally eat pancit or some kind of long noodles on birthdays. It’s kind of a cultural superstition, so we always have to eat noodles on birthdays.”

    When they’re not socializing with family and sharing Filipino food, Tan and his family love to stay active and travel the country in their camper.

    “We love anything outdoors,” Tan explained. “We love hiking, camping, traveling, parking our camper at the beach; that’s my relaxing place. I like to meditate at the beach, do breathing exercises, stuff like that. We ride our bikes, read books and just relax.”

    Just halfway to retirement eligibility, Tan said he looks forward to being selected as a chief petty officer and continuing his promise to help as many Sailors and future Sailors as he can.

    “Making chief and retiring are my ultimate goals,” he emphasized. “I’m halfway there. Once I retire, I would like to have a business of my own; perhaps I’ll go into real estate. But overall, I just want to help people and other Sailors and share my experiences. I like to read books about finance and personal development, so I’m in the process of becoming a command financial specialist.”

    Tan has come a long way since he first saw those mighty U.S. warships on his TV screen in the Philippines. He’s a valued leader in his Texas community with a family of his own and a successful career as an American Navy Sailor. He looks forward to more time outdoors with his family, traversing the countryside in his camper, and hiring the next generation of U.S. Navy Sailors.

    NTAG Houston has 34 Navy recruiting stations covering more than 44,000 square miles in rural and metropolitan areas around Houston and Western Louisiana. Follow NTAG Houston on Facebook (

    For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (, Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).



    Date Taken: 05.28.2021
    Date Posted: 05.28.2021 14:02
    Story ID: 397719
    Location: HOUSTON, TX, US 

    Web Views: 103
    Downloads: 0