- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - Muncie and Delaware County high schools have graduates who went on to play professional sports, some who went on to lead major companies, and some who excelled in the music and entertainment industries. Some stayed home and became leaders of local businesses, companies and other organizations right here where they grew up.

Northside High School has Vice Admiral James D. Syring, whose boss reports to United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Syring is director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. If the United States or its allies need to be protected from an incoming missile, Syring is the man in charge.

“I’m not just a proud dad, but as an engineer there is nobody else in this country better suited for this job than Jim,” Bob Syring said while sitting in his Muncie home with his wife Maureen this week to talk about their son. “He’s the whole package. The engineering and technical background, the leadership.”

Jim Syring made a rare visit to Muncie Wednesday to help his hometown celebrate Veterans Day. A top position in the military leaves precious little opportunity to come home. His mother said she and Bob generally see Jim a couple of times a year, but those visits are typically in Jim’s home in Virginia or at the family vacation cabin out west. Jim Syring said it had been at least 10 years since his last visit.

But Muncie is far from forgotten for Syring, who is nearing the completion of three years in this position and recently agreed to remain for one more year. He takes pride in the education he received from Muncie Community Schools and Northside High School.

The first sentence of Syring’s biography on the missile agency’s website mentions that he is from Muncie, Indiana.

“When they first saw that, they said, ‘That’s not a normal start to a bio’,” Syring recalled Wednesday before taking the stage to address the Veterans Day crowd. “I said, ‘I don’t care. I want it in there, for the people of Muncie.’ “

Syring is a 1985 graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a degree in marine engineering. While in the academy, he suffered a back injury while competing for the rowing team, and that changed his course to an engineering duty focus. It was that background that has led him to his current position as director of the MDA.

Which, for those who don’t have a deep understanding of the military, means what?

“My job is to protect the United States, our deployed forces and our allies,” he said. “We develop the missile defense systems, we train to use them, we test them.”

During his presentation Wednesday, he simplified the massive responsibility.

“It’s pretty basic,” he said. “It’s hitting a bullet with a bullet.”

Syring’s position requires travel more than half of the year. In fact, when he finished his presentation in the Central High School Auditorium Wednesday night, he was on his way to board a flight for Romania, where the U.S. is developing a new missile site to better position them to protect.

“It’s a worldwide job,” he said.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency was established in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. Syring is the ninth director, and the first of those from the Navy.

A crowd of 200-300 listened to Syring Wednesday. Among them were Barb and Steve Perry of Anderson, who came over hoping to meet Syring, because their nephew works for him as an IT specialist.

“He talked to our nephew just this morning about some help he needed,” Barb Perry said.

___

Source: The Star Press, http://tspne.ws/1QxwZ9K

___

Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide