Who Is Mark Totilo?
Mark Totilo was born in Bridgeport, CT and grew up in a small town called Ansonia. He is the son of retired Navy Veteran, Anthony Totilo. After graduating from Notre Dame High School, West Haven he enlisted in the United States Navy. He trained to be an Electronics Technician and spent three years aboard the USS Ingersoll DD-990, home ported in San Diego, CA. It was his job to keep the shipboard communications equipment operating at peak performance. After leaving Ingersoll, he spent two years at Naval Air Station Miramar working on Tactical Air Navigation and Ground Control Approach Radar. Upon leaving the Navy, he took a job as a Technical Support Representative with HM Electronics Inc., a provider of wireless intercom systems to the Quick Service Restaurant industry. He also worked as a Field Service Engineer for HME. He left the company to start his own service company Professional Communication Service and Installation (PCSI).
Angels In Ansonia
Life has it's ups and downs. At a young age Mark almost had a disastrous down. He was visiting his friend Paul, a class mate from school and they decided to take a walk to the Ansonia mall. To get to the mall the two lads had to hop a fence and descend the stone steps pictured to the right. The experienced friend jumped the fence with ease and began the treacherous descent, but according to Mark he didn't make the leap so gracefully and lost his balance and began to fall. Unseen hands reached out and caught him placing him back on the steps. Once securely situated on the great stone steps, he whirled around to thank his rescuer only to be greeted by the wind. His friend already at the bottom of the steps waited for him. "Did you see anybody up there?" Mark said as he bounded down the edifice. "No," Paul responded. Years later, Paul testified how treacherous those stairs really were and told Mark how he'd fallen from them twice.
Choosing A Career Path
Unsure of a definitive career path, Mark chose to seek a career in electronics and enlisted in the United States Navy. This choice would transplant him to the west coast and half way around the world. His travels led him to Perth, Australia, Sasebo, Japan, Subic Bay, Phillipines, Hong Kong and many other exciting places. Countless hours on the crystal blue Indian Ocean brought a spiritual awakening that has guided him until the present day.
Recruit Training - Great Lakes, Illinois
"Boot camp was a harrowing experience at first," Mark says. "I think I got my first grey hair on the second day." Mark did make it through and was chosen to train in Electronics Technician program. He completed the Basic Electricity and Electronics school and was off to the Electronics Technician 'A' school. After completion he accepted orders to the USS Ingersoll DD-990 homeported in San Diego, CA. He made an intermittent three month stop at Mare Island Naval Station, Vallejo, CA to be trained on the Naval Tactical Data System communication equipment. Upon arrival to his ship, he was asked to attend the Satellite Communications school. He also received advance training on Ultra High Frequency communication equipment before the 1984 deployment of Ingersoll to the Western Pacific.
Should've, Could've, Would've
During boot camp Mark was selected to be an Electronics Technician and would proceed to attend Basic Electronics and Electricity, followed by the 32 week Electronics Technician 'A' School. As the weeks wound down and his class entered the final two weeks of training a list of orders was issued for the soon to be graduates of ET school. Mark, picking sixth was able to determine what ships his top five classmates had chosen so he knew he was guaranteed his dream of being stationed in Mayport, Florida and visit Italy and France. The list of orders were half ships home-ported in Mayport, FL and the other half San Diego, CA. The night before orders were to be picked he was scheduled to take a test on Synchros and Servos. He finished the test first cock sure he aced it only to find out he dropped the test. Every test must be passed or the student was set back two weeks to repeat the module. Crushed by the failure, he lost his dream. Two weeks later a new list of orders were issued. Every single ship was home-ported in California. He never got to see Europe. As the French say, c'est la vie, so it goes. He would sail the ocean blue aboard the USS Ingersoll DD-990 and not the USS Stark FF-31. His friend Chris Deangelis, from Dumont, New Jersey, who got Mark's original orders, was killed aboard Stark on May 17, 1987.
Life Aboard USS Ingersoll DD-990
Life is challenging when attached to a sea going command. New faces, new jobs, new port of calls, new obstacles. A serene moment is a rare commodity. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once in the routine even the more difficult jobs become easy to deal with. Mark was attached to CE division, which was part of the Combat Systems department. He spent the bulk of his time listening to the high pitch whine of the radio cooling fans in the transmitter room. On board a ship, every one wore multiple hats to insure that every job was accomplished and the ship's mission is carried out. Mark was assigned to Underway Refueling Detail and the fire party for Flight Quarters. When having to stand watch, he often served as Duty Electronics Technician underway and Roving Security Patrol while in port. On January 10, 1985, Mark shed his slim wog skin and was initiated as a Shellback when Ingersoll crossed the equator. He thoroughly enjoyed his time assigned to Ingersoll and always found a way to enjoy each task assigned to him, even it was painting the inside of the tilt whip antennas on the fantail. Especially exhilarating, was when his duty required to go aloft to fix an antenna on the yard arm. He picked up this quote from his days aboard Ingersoll, "Bend to fit, paint to match."
Naval Air Station Miramar (Topgun)
The Navy changed the Ingersoll's homeport to Pearl Harbor Hawaii and Mark was two months from transferring off the ship, so they asked him to accept his shore duty orders early. Mark signed a ten month extension, packed up his gear and a life time of memories headed for Miramar Naval Air Station, San Diego. He attended the Tactical Air Navigation school before accepting his new orders. He spent the final two years of enlistment working on Miramar's TACAN, Ground Control Approach Radar, Transmitters and Receivers. After being advance to Petty Officer Second Class he performed the duty as the lead petty officer for the rifle team for the Miramar Naval Air Station Funeral Detail.
Storytelling and Writing
Mark began writing stories in high school to entertain his friends during religion class. His stories, The Adventures of Dick Billings were about the store manager of the Baskin Robbins where he worked. While on deployment overseas he wrote short stories for those same friends half-a-world-away back in Connecticut. He began to take writing more seriously when he married his wife Rebecca Park Totilo author of over 40 books. He wrote articles for Trumpeter Magazine about local Christian athletes in Miami, Florida. He penned a cover article for Sports Spectrum and Sharing the Victory, national sports magazines about the NHL Hall of Fame goaltender, John Vanbiesbrouck a former member of the Florida Panthers. Mark has written two novels, a screenplay and has contributed stories to Rebecca Park Totilo's book His Majesty Requests. He also has written numerous radio scripts and commercials for Rebecca At The Well Foundation.
It's Not Just A Job, It's An Adventure
This was the slogan when Mark enlisted in the Navy, but the adventure didn't end when he accepted his Honorable Discharge. It was only beginning. In 2003 Mark and Rebecca set out on a journey with their four children to traverse the highways and byways of America. After the completion of her book, His Majesty Requests, Rebecca formed Rebecca At The Well Foundation and produced a video based on her book. The Totilos' went mobile promoting her book and video in congregations, conferences, radio and television. Mark and Rebecca biblically taught the roots of scripture to paint a vivid picture of God's word. After almost a decade of travel they settled in Gulfport, Florida where Rebecca opened a boutique, Beach n' Body, selling Essential Oils and continued to write books. While Mark reestablished his business Professional Communications, he immersed himself in writing the novel, Double Salute. It was published and released on September 1, 2013.