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Honoring Our Veterans: Paul Settle

In honor of Veterans Day tomorrow, we chatted with a veteran who's now in the Nashville real estate industry, Paul Settle. Formerly of the Navy, Paul is Skanska USA’s VP of environment, health and safety.


Bisnow: Tell us about your service.

Paul: I was enlisted in the US Navy in 1972 as an aviation boatswain’s mate, stationed in San Diego, where I was in the training squadron. Two of my best friends (Dr. Ray Watson and the late Bill Merrick; Paul, on the right, is pictured with Ray) and I were drafted the same week. I was 20 years old, and that was the first time I had ever lived on my own. I was a part of a team that would train new squadrons on how to properly use and fly planes like the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and I was sent to USS Kitty Hawk and the USS Enterprise for training cruises.

My duty station, NAS Miramar, was “Fightertown USA,” which was the home of Top Gun at that time. My squadron, VF-124, was two hangars from Top Gun; but I never saw Tom Cruise. During my time in service, I broke my leg. They could’ve shipped me to another unit, but they let me stay at work and run the coffee shop there in the squadron. I served for three years in the Navy. I was a willing participant, but there were so many other people who did so much more.


Bisnow: What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Paul: Veterans Day reminds me of my dad and grandfather, who both served in the Navy, in addition to other ancestors who served from the beginning of our nation. I also remember and am thankful for the millions of people who have served the country without regard for themselves.

Bisnow: How has your service helped you become a better professional? 

Paul: My service taught me how to work with different people and instilled the value of teamwork.