FRAMINGHAM – Jeremy Spector’s chest is adorned with shiny medals earned during years of service in the U.S. Navy.
One he didn’t earn and instead was given, however, holds a special place in his heart.
Pinned on the inside of Spector’s officer’s jacket is the Good Conduct medal his grandfather, Herb Cole, earned serving in the Army during World War II. Cole, who died three years ago, was the first person Spector called when he enlisted in the Navy. Cole and his wife Mim traveled across the world – including to Guam – to attend military ceremonies honoring their grandson.
Col. Walter Connery promoted the Framingham native to commander during a ceremony attended by more than 20 family members and Gloria Aspesi, Spector’s elementary school principal, at the Framingham History Center Friday.
“It’s the first big ceremony Papa was not here for,” said Spector. “I wanted him to be here today.”
Family members – many of whom traveled from out of state – beamed with pride as Spector, an administrative officer at the Navy Reserve Southcom Headquarters, took the oath.
“My husband would have been so proud,” said Mim Cole, who has not missed one of Spector’s promotion ceremonies. “It’s thrilling to be able to be here. The eyes will fill up with tears.”
Spector, a 1995 Framingham High School graduate, attended Navy Officer Candidate School after graduating from George Washington University. He spent 10 years on active duty in the Navy, including stints as an intelligence division officer, a supplementary plot watch officer and intelligence systems officer aboard the USS Harry S. Truman in Norfolk, Virginia.
“I always wanted to serve in uniform,” he said. “I always had a view toward service (growing up).”
He spent time as an intelligence officer, special security officer and acting communications officer at the Naval Special Warfare Unit One based in Apra Harbor, Guam. Spector was later stationed at the U.S. Embassies in Honduras and Ethiopia.
“There is just something about being in a foreign port, looking out and seeing a big grey ship with an American flag on it,” he said.
Spector was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months in 2007 and recalled having to suit up, carry weapons and travel in an armored vehicle during a mission to provide aid to an orphanage. Previous convoys delivering supplies to the orphanage had been attacked.
“That really struck me as true tragedy,” he said.He celebrated his 30th birthday in Afghanistan by ordering Indian food and similarly had to carry his weapon and wear battle gear when he met the delivery man on the street.Spector is currently assigned to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic were he serves as the chief of the American citizen services unit. He is tasked with creating regional relationships to improve safety for citizens.Two weeks ago Spector was in St. Maarten coordinating the location and evacuation of more than 2,000 U.S. citizens stranded there after Hurricane Irma.“The pride is unbelievable,” Sally Spector, Jeremy’s mother, said before the ceremony. “We’re so proud of everything he’s accomplished and continues to accomplish.”Spector […]