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Naval Academy Tailor Retires After Nearly 50 Years

Posted on: January 26, 2014 08:00 EST by MC2 Jonathan Correa

Since 1964, the phrase “Tony the Tailor” has been a household name among U.S. Naval Academy students and alumni. And for good reason.

Tony Tripodi, who worked in the Naval Academy tailor shop for nearly 50 years before retiring in December 2013, was one of the first people plebes met on induction day and the one they could always count on to make sure their cover was on right, their pants were just the right length and that their jackets fit perfectly.

“Every once in a while you meet someone like Tony who people remember and that bring credibility not only to self but to those he works with,” said Phillip R. Allison, acting director of the Naval Academy Business Services Division. “I met Tony in 1994 when I was a lieutenant commander, and he was just one of those people who took pride in his job.

“I don’t think I ever saw him upset,” added Allison. “He is always happy.”

A native of Italy, Tripodi moved to the U.S. in 1957 at the age of 17. He started as a tailor in a shop on Main Street in Annapolis, before starting work as a private contractor at the academy. In 1994 he was asked to come and work in the tailor shop as a federal employee.

“A job like this in Italy would be a prestigious place to work,” said Tripodi. “I am honored to have worked there for 49 years.”

Tripodi worked as a tailor and as quality control inspector for the midshipmen’s uniforms and communicated directly with vendors and manufacturers to solve any problems, said Linda Fogg, service manager for the Naval Academy Business Service Division.

“Tony was an excellent employee,” said Fogg.  “He took great pride in his work.”

Over the years Tripodi has taken care of the uniform needs of midshipmen and officers at the Naval Academy, including Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and academy Superintendent Vice. Adm. Mike Miller.

“I still get calls from the Pentagon asking if I could do alterations for people who trust me and know I will take care of them,” Tripodi said.

He made it a priority to make midshipmen look their best in their uniforms and to always feel welcomed in his office and the tailor shop.

“I would tell them to come in relax have a seat. My home is your home,” said Tripodi. “Midshipmen would stop by during lunch just to say hi and talk.”

Tripodi is enjoying his retirement with his wife of 50 years, two children, and four grandchildren.

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