For Immediate Release
Oct. 18, 2019
CAPT Calvin Foster: Muscogee (Creek) citizen inside the Pentagon
Citizen helps implement Naval efforts in Steering Reform
WASHINGTON — Captain Calvin Foster visits “The Wall” often. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C. lists names upon names of service members who fought, died and are unaccounted for during the Vietnam War. One name particular stands out for Foster, the reason he decided to serve in the military in the first place, his namesake; Calvin Diehl.
His uncle was a Lieutenant Captain in the U.S. Air Force when the F-105 Thunderchief he was piloting was shot down.
There is a legacy of service in Foster’s family. His grandfather was a retired Army Colonel and his father served in the Air Force. Foster was born on an Air Force base in Maine before his family returned home to Bristow, Oklahoma.
His family’s service goes beyond military. Foster’s Muscogee (Creek) lineage begins with his great-great-grandfather, Chilli Morgan, a translator for the Dawes Commission. His grandfather, Arthur Morgan Foster, was a prominent banker for the Bristow community who was instrumental in starting Oklahoma’s Vo-Tech system. His father, Dr. George Foster was the Dean of Optometry at Northeastern State University and his mother, Rita Foster dedicated her life to education and music ministry. His sister, Dr. Kathleen Elliott works for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health as an optometrist and his brother, Dr. Tol Foster is a professor of Native American studies.
Perhaps it was his family’s legacy that caused him to be so interested in the different types of military service. While in high school, his advisor Tommy Thompson is the one who provided the opportunity to seriously consider the Naval Academy.
Foster was accepted into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. During his graduation his grandfather, Arthur donned his uniform and administered Foster’s first oath of office.
“Granddad was always making sure I was taking a step in the right direction,” Foster said.
The Navy had several different pathways of service for Foster. Out of aviation, submarines and special warfare; he chose ships, also known as surface warfare.
The day after graduation, he got married to his wife of now 27 years, Nicole. From there he trained as a Surface Warfare Officer in Newport, Rhode Island and reported to his first Naval assignment after the Academy; the USS Shreveport based out of Norfolk, Virginia. This assignment led to Combat Systems Training as the department head.
During this time, Foster’s family was growing and quickly. After the birth of his first son in 1995, Foster and his wife found themselves expecting triplets in 1998. This led to a big career move considering the Navy wanted to send Foster out to sea for another four years. It was at that point he became a reserve officer.
Foster would be called back to active duty over the years, even reporting to the Pentagon as an OPNAV Action Officer and Navy Crisis Action Team watch officer for CNO Readiness and Logistics Branch. Tragedy is what brought him back to the Pentagon. On June 17, 2017, the USS Fitzgerald was involved in a collision, which resulted in the loss of seven sailors’ lives. Then in August 2017, USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision resulting in 10 sailors’ deaths.
The Navy decided the collisions were preventable and instituted a major reform effort to change the way the Navy trains, operates and certifies itself in a navigational and seamanship perspective.
In 2019, Foster once again returned to active duty to be part of the Navy’s reform as Executive Director of the Readiness Reform Steering Group, supporting the Navy’s oversight council.
When the opportunity came to support this effort, Foster was all in. He considered the surface warfare community his “subtribe” in the Navy.
“Within my own little community here you become passionate about making your community better, making your ships safer and making your team more effective,” Foster said. “The opportunity to come and devote to doing that was really exciting for me.”
He works directly for the Director of the Navy staff, meeting regularly with fleet commanders and Vice Chief of Naval Operations and the Undersecretary of the Navy. Together they have implemented over 100 reforms.
“It’s been a very rewarding job,” he said.
Foster has had over five commands in the Navy.
“I think it has given me a good perspective on organizational dynamics and areas that can be supported and helped and where change can be made,” Foster said.
It has been 31 years since he was an Oklahoma resident, but he has not forgotten where he came from and visits his hometown of Bristow as much as he can.
Foster holds memories of wild onion dinners at Mutteloke Methodist Church and stays connected with his Muscogee (Creek) heritage through his family. They send him shirts to wear that represent his tribe which he always enjoys receiving.
“I enjoyed Bristow and I enjoyed growing up in Oklahoma,” Foster said. “It will always be my home base but I always felt called to serve.”
When Foster enters the Pentagon for work, he passes a quilt with the names of the 9/11 attack victims and is humbled to be where he is now.
“I look forward to doing more.”
Excerpt from CAPT Calvin Foster’s official Navy bio:
CAPT Foster continued his service beyond active duty with affiliation into a NAVSEA Reserve Unit (PMS 377) in Washington, DC followed by a tour as Operations Officer for Naval Beach Group TWO Det 206.
He served as a Commanding Officer for Beachmaster Unit TWO Det 206 in Baltimore and Amphibious Construction Battalion TWO Det 405 in Ebensburg, PA. Following a tour at Military Sealift Command (MSC) Headquarters in Washington, DC, he reported to the Pentagon as an OPNAV Action Officer and Navy Crisis Action Team watch officer for CNO Readiness and Logistics Branch (N4).
CAPT Foster mobilized to active duty as the CO of Navy Law and Order Det H and Director of Emergency Services/Provost Marshal for Army Central Command/Area Support Group-Kuwait. He returned as the Deputy CO of NR United States Strategic Command’s Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (SCC-WMD) followed by a tour with United States Cyber Command as Plans Branch Chief and Cyber Ops Planner. He commanded NR United States Fleet Forces Command Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) in Houston, TX prior to leading the Joint Staff (South)’s J35 Reserve Division. He is currently assigned as Reserve Commodore, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron TWO.