Sep 01, 2020

TAPS: Chief Petty Officer Harold “Skip” Vandover, USN (Retired)

Harold J. “Skip” Vandover, 74, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, passed away on 20 August, 2020, with his devoted wife, Carol, by his side in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Skip was born 2 March 2, 1946 in Pampa, Texas and graduated from Oxon Hill High School in 1964. He enlisted in the Navy in 1963 when he was 17 years of age. He had several tours of duty, to include a four-year tour in Sigonella, Sicily, where he was an anti-submarine warfare technician. In 1977, he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer. In 1980, he was stationed aboard the USS John F Kennedy, and then he retired in 1985.

Upon his retirement, Skip took a position with the General Physics Corporation in their Virginia Beach office working the Deployable Acoustic Readiness Training Systems (DARTS). A year later, he was hired by the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) as an acoustics SME in their Forward Area Support Team (FAST) at the Naval Operations Base Norfolk, Virginia. In 1988, Skip was selected to be the director of the FAST unit in San Diego, California. In 1994, he left San Diego to move to Washington, DC where he worked for multiple government offices.

Skip was the recipient of several Civilian Naval Commendation and Naval Unit Citations in his 18 1/2 years with ONI, as well as the Richard J. Bryce Memorial Award in 2002. The Bryce Award is presented by the Commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence to the person who has made the most significant contribution to Naval Intelligence Collection. He was also the recipient of the DNI Joint Duty Assignment Award.

In 2003, Skip transferred to the Army Operation Activity at Fort Mead, Maryland where he helped the Army stand up its indigenous HUMINT Program right at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, Skip was employed by the Department of Homeland Security as a full-time instructor at the DHS Intelligence Training Academy. He retired from Homeland Security in September 2017.

Skip spent over half of his 54 years of government service as an instructor and/or manager of instructional systems. He was a loyal servant to his country.
He was of Baptist faith and attended West End Baptist Chapel, where he was actively involved in the restoration of their new church in the former Winter Street Elementary School in Hagerstown.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Scott Vandover and wife, Marissa, of Virginia Beach, VA, and Donald Vandover and husband, Michael Watt, of San Diego; his first wife and the mother of his two sons, Barbara Vandover of St. George, UT; one granddaughter, Chelsea Aves and husband, Joseph, of Norfolk; one great-grandchild, Cecilia, also of Norfolk; two stepdaughters, Melissa Boswell and Rick of Kearneysville, WV, and Tracey Sines and Jeremey of Ridgeley, WV; two stepgrandsons, Bryce Sines of Martinsburg and Bailey Sines of Ridgeley; and five nephews and one niece.

A full military service will be held at a later date at West End Baptist Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to West End Baptist Chapel in memory of Skip Vandover. Mail to 59 Winter St., Hagerstown, MD 21740 Attn: Melissa Bowell. Online condolences can be made at