Capt. John “Van” Gurley recently retired from the U.S. Navy in a traditional Navy ceremony at Stennis Space Center after 26 years of active duty service. A native of Orlando, Fla., and Mississippi Coast resident for nearly the past decade, Gurley most recently commanded the Naval Oceanography Operations Command (NOOC) at Stennis Space Center until a change of command immediately prior to his retirement ceremony. Originally a submarine warfare officer, he served at sea in the Pacific on USS La Jolla before becoming an oceanography officer in 1992. As a Navy oceanographer, he served in a variety of seagoing and shore-based tours, including deployed operations in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Arabian Gulf theaters. His prior leadership tours include command of the Naval Oceanography Anti-Submarine Warfare Center at Stennis Space Center as its first commanding officer, and officer-in-charge of the Naval European Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment in Naples, Italy. Other shore assignments include executive assistant for the Oceanographer of the Navy in Washington, D.C.; and special assistant on the personal staff of Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.
Gurley’s wife, Kim, who has taught kindergarten at East and South Hancock Elementary Schools since 2004, and his sons Kyle, Kevin and Nathan, will be relocating to the Washington, D.C., area where he will join Metron Scientific Solutions as a senior manager.