Senior chief sonar technician Nicholas Tarulli’s career as a Naval reservist took him all over the world, from South America to the Mediterranean. However, his greatest impact as a seaman may have come during his time at Fort Schuyler.
After 42 years in the Navy, the last 13 of which were spent in the Bronx, 60-year-old Tarulli is leaving the Navy this August. He is also a retired New York City police officer and has been working as a security guard at the Bronx VA hospital since 2008.
Tarulli’s main responsibility at Fort Schuyler has been as an instructor. He teaches leadership courses to rising officers.
“The Navy has a whole bunch of leadership courses that are given at different points in your career,” Tarulli said. “As you excel and advance to different positions you go through another leadership course.”
Tarulli’s specialty, throughout most of his Naval career, was tracking submarines using sonar. Since a large portion of his time in active duty came during the height of the Cold War, Tarulli partook in activities most people only read about in spy novels.
“When we were doing our Mediterranean cruise we played cat and mouse games with the Soviet navy,” he said. “We’d follow them, they’d follow us. If there was a Soviet submarine in the area we’d be trying to tail it and all kinds of stuff like that. It was all in day’s work for us.”
Even spent much of his career tracking and chasing down submarines from land and from surface boats, and only once rode in one. He took an old diesel submarine from Peru to Columbia during his four years of sea duty.
“You don’t see the sun, and when you dive, there is almost no sense of movement at all,” he said. “I thought it was pretty cool, plus it was very interesting to see how much better a listening platform it was on a submarine than a surface ship.”
During those four years, however, he did spend plenty of time aboard other ships.
“Living on a ship is a different experience,” he said. “You don’t have any privacy. Your life is definitely not your own.”
Fort Schuyler will miss Tarulli when he leaves the Navy, but the Long Island resident will be logging plenty of Bronx time at the VA Hospital. Plus, he gets plenty of respect in those halls once they find out about his other job.