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Captain Robert W. Reighley was born and raised in the rural Ohio village of Peninsula, graduating from Boston Township High School in 1959. Following a summer working at sea in the Merchant Marine, schooling resumed at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. After receiving the Bachelor of Science in Physics in 1963, Captain Reighley entered the Navy and was commissioned Ensign on June 19, 1964 at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.

Captain Reighley attended Damage Control School at Treasure Island, followed by assignment as Damage Control Assistant on board USS Kennebec (AO 36), deployed in Southeast Asia. When the ship returned to its San Francisco home port, school continued in San Pedro, CA at the Navy POL school, and at Fleet Training Center San Diego to learn Engineering Administration. EOOW and OOD qualifications ensued, along with the ship's return to WestPac. Shore duty tours followed at the David Taylor Model Basin as Fleet Liaison Officer and the Naval Facility, Bermuda as Operations, and then Executive Officer. Prior to Destroyer Department Head School, a Mediterranean Northern European deployment was made as Intelligence Officer in USS Newman K. Perry (DD883). Sea duty resumed as Chief Engineer, joining USS Mahan (DLG11) deployed in the Vietnam theatre. Engineering and Damage Control Training and Readiness duty followed on the staffs of Cruiser Destroyer, and Surface Force, Pacific during the inception of Mobile Training Teams and the Propulsion Examining Board. Sea duty was resumed as Executive Officer in USS Hoel (DDG 13). Washington duty ensued, first at Naval Sea Systems Command as Engineering/Combat Systems Assistant to the Deputy Commander for Surface Ships, then as a student at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Selection for Command of USS Berkeley was the best graduation present awarded in 1982. The morning after the March, 1983 Change of Command in Long Beach Naval Shipyard, sea trials commenced to return the magnificent "Bright Penny" to the operating forces, subsequently deploying to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans as a member of USS Kitty Hawk Battle Group BRAVO. "Life after Command" continued with more sea duty: Assistant Chief of Staff, and then Chief of Staff for Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group FIVE, Battle Group BRAVO. Student duty resumed at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island where Masters degrees in National Security and Strategic Studies, and International Relations were earned. San Diego served as homeport for concluding active Navy service, as Assistant Chief of Staff, Training and Readiness, Commander Naval Surface Forces, Pacific. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal. Captain Reighley retired from active duty in September 1990.

Captain Reighley is married to the former Suzanne M. Hubert, from Maine and Rhode Island and they reside in San Diego, California.