On Veterans Way: Alan K. Tingquist

Kent Weeklies
Alan Tingquist

Alan K. Tingquist (Tink) was born in the rural Pennsylvania town of Irwin. Following a family move, his formative years were spent in Sparta, NJ, a boating town of rolling hills nestled around picturesque Lake Mohawk. He attended Sparta High School where he excelled on the baseball and football fields. Sports and being part of a team were a passion for him. Lucky to have the best of both worlds, Al spent time each summer at his grandparents’ farm in Becker, Minn. Here he spent lots of time outdoors, playing in the fields, trapping critters (gophers), learning the workings of the farm, fishing the many Minnesota lakes, and enjoying everything homemade by Grandma.

After high school, following in his Dad’s footsteps, he attended the University of Minnesota, where he graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a proud member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.

Graduating in the midst of the Vietnam War, he made the decision to voluntarily enlist in the United States Coast Guard and he was off to Basic Training in Alameda, Calif. Completing this, he was accepted to Officers Candidate School and was commissioned as an ensign in 1969. Then on to Galveston Island, Texas where he served from June 1969 to January 1971, achieving the rank of lieutenant, junior grade.

Guessing this is where his true lust for travel kicks in, 1971, he is off to Japan where he is stationed at the Hokkaido Loran Station (Long Range Navigation). U.S. Loran stations were first developed by the U.S. Navy and then later enhanced by the U.S. Air Force. Their main use was on the ships and aircraft operating in the Pacific theater during World War II. Both of these systems were turned over to the Coast Guard for monitoring in 1958.

Finishing his tour of duty in Hokkaido in 1972, with the approval of senior officers, he briefly took over the command of the Miyako-Jima Loran station so a friend and fellow Coastguardsman could travel mainland Japan. Al maintained a lifelong bond with this classmate as he did with his OCS roommate and Best Man. “Fair Winds and Following Seas”.

Mustering out of active duty in Japan afforded Al some travel time including the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics, and his most recounted trip traveling through cold-war era Soviet Union via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. He continued his Coast Guard career as a Reservist until his retirement in 1993 as a captain. He served in Reserve units in Phoenix, Detroit, and Chicago as executive officer and commanding officer. His most recent billet was as a group commanding officer in the Great Lakes region.

His travels ensued – after marrying Kathleen Ryan in 1975, they moved on to Phoenix, (arrival - a son) and then on to St. Louis, (arrival - a daughter), back to Middletown, NJ, then to Naperville, Ill.; continuing his studies throughout earning an MBA from University of Arizona (1980), a graduate degree from the Naval War College (1985), and an MA from DePaul University (1993).