Flag Flies for Richard Steiber

Flag Flies for Richard Steiber photo

In continuing its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to U.S. Navy veteran Richard Steiber by flying an American flag in his honor throughout the month of September.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Steiber for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen. 

Steiber was recognized at a ceremony held Sept. 12 at Hampton Bays Elementary School, where fourth-graders honored him along with the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001. The students read Steiber’s bio and recited patriotic poems that they had penned. The event culminated with the raising of the flag on the district’s flagpole. 

Born in Brookhaven in 1955, Steiber attended what is now the South Country Central School District in Bellport. He left Bellport High School in 1973 prior to graduation – he completed his schooling and received his diploma at a later date – and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1974. 

Upon enlisting, Steiber was sent to Orlando, Florida, where he completed his basic training. Following basic training, he was sent to a school in Tennessee to train as an aviation electrician’s mate. After successfully completing his advanced training, he was deployed to the Philippines in April 1975 and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Midway, Tech Squadron 56. There, he worked on repairing and maintaining aircraft flight and navigational controls.

In February 1979, Steiber was transferred to Japan and assigned to human resource management, where he taught intercultural relations. In January 1982, he was honorably discharged with the rank of petty officer first class and began working as a carpenter in Hampton Bays. After a year, he decided to re-enlist in the Navy and was sent back to Japan, where he was assigned to the Organizational Effectiveness Center.

While stationed in Japan, he met his future wife, Miho, whom he married in 1984. Two years later, he was transferred to Squadron VF/VFA 161 at Naval Air Facility ATSUGI. Several months after that, he was transferred back to his old carrier, the USS Midway, and assigned to the ship’s company.

In 1988, Steiber was promoted to chief petty officer and placed in charge of two avionics shops, and in 1990 he was transferred to the Naval Aviation Service Unit as assistant officer in charge. He was again promoted, this time to senior chief petty officer, in 1991, and became acting officer in charge of the Naval Aviation Service Unit during Operation Desert Storm.

 In December 1993, Steiber was once again transferred, this time to Carrier Early Warning Squadron 125 based in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1994, in the midst of the Bosnian War, he was deployed several times to the Mediterranean.

Steiber retired from the Navy in January 1996 and returned to Hampton Bays, where he worked as a self-employed carpenter. He and Miho have two children, Julia and John, both of whom were born in Japan. Upon coming to the United States, both children attended school in Hampton Bays and graduated from Hampton Bays High School. Steiber has been a member of the American Legion Hand-Aldrich Post 924 for 14 years, five of which he served as its commander.