Varela joined the Navy April 1988; he wanted to leave the small farm town in which he grew up, and to see the world. He is very proud of his many career achievements — particularly being named chief — which are the result his hard work. He has long been active in sports, and he particularly enjoyed softball and basketball. He was injured February 2012 in a motorcycle accident, which resulted in the amputation of his left leg above the knee. Since his injury, he has enjoyed playing wheelchair basketball and participating in adaptive surfing. He plans to retire in approximately one month, and after that transition, he hopes to pursue a position within the federal government.

Photo of Hector Varela

Hector Varela

Navy Chief Gunner’s Mate

Age: 43

Current Command/Position: Center for Security Forces Detachment, Training Support Center San Diego

Current Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

Disability: Above-the-knee amputee “left leg”, sustained after motorcycle accident