Jerry enlisted in the United States Navy on October 28, 1968, as a Seaman Recruit, E-1, and he steadily advanced in rate to Senior Chief Yeoman, E-8. In April 1983, he received a commission through the Warrant Officer Program and was commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer, W2. He retired from the Navy in 1988 as a Chief Warrant Officer, W3 after 20 years of active service.
Shore tours throughout his career included assignments at Naval Recruiting District, Buffalo New York; Basic Submarine School, Groton, Connecticut, where he graduated with distinction; Staff, Division of Naval Reactors (where he worked for Admiral Rickover), U. S. Department of Energy, Washington, D. C.; and his last tour as Commanding Officer, Naval Brig, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL.
Sea and foreign tours included the Naval Support Activity, DaNang, Republic of Vietnam; Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FOUR, Patuxent River, Maryland; Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron FIVE on board USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62); USS GEORGE BANCROFT (SSBN643) (GOLD); Staff, Commander, Submarine Squadron SIXTEEN, Kings Bay, Georgia; USS AMERICA (CV-66), Norfolk, Virginia; and USS SIMON LAKE (AS-33), Kings Bay, Georgia.
Jerry was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with one Gold Star; Navy Achievement Medal; Navy Unit Commendation; Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Star; Battle Efficiency “E” (Third Award); Good Conduct Medal with two Bronze Stars; National Defense Service Medal; Republic of Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one Bronze Star; Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Commendation with Gallantry Cross; Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Ribbon with Gallantry Cross; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon. Additionally, Jerry was "Qualified in Submarines" and earned the right to wear Silver Submarine Dolphins and the Strategic Deterrent Patrol Insignia with two stars.