If you listen to Michael Gough, who began his training as Brotman Law’s new case manager in January 2022, his years in the U.S. Navy and SWCC, which rolled off his tongue several times during the interview with quiet ease, might seem disarming.
If you care to look “SWCC” up under www.navy.com, you’ll find that Gough was part of an elite force known as Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC), which most people never hear about. According to the Navy’s website, this is on purpose.
“Their missions are the kind that Navy keeps quiet because how vitally important they are.” SWCC recruits are trained in boating and weapons tactics, techniques, and procedures that focus on clandestine infiltration and exfiltration of special operations forces.
Becoming one of the Navy elites wasn’t a dream of Gough’s as a boy, though. He grew up in Utah and attended Utah State University after high school. “I didn’t have a lot of money, so I was working at a bar and studying at the same time. I was just messing around and was not at all focused,” he said. Eventually, Gough decided he wanted to get out his small town and travel, so joining the military made sense. In his mind it would be five years and then done.
In 2001 Gough joined the U.S. Navy, moving to San Diego in 2002. As a Navy Corpsman, he was stationed at Balboa Hospital. During 9/11, he joined a small deployment as the war started up in the Gulf. “That’s where the seeds were planted. I decided that I wanted to be more than a medic and thought I was capable of it,” he said. Gough dropped his package to go to Navy Special Warfare (NSW) to attempt to join the SWCC community.
“Once I graduated from the selection pipeline, time just started flying. In SWCC I was able to stay in San Diego, and just ‘bounce through a couple different commands.’” With a smile on his face, Gough recalled “driving fast boats and shooting a lot of guns.”
Having found what he was searching for, his 10-year mark came and went. Gough decided to stay until he could retire. “I loved the people I was working with, and it was a huge learning experience.” He hadn’t yet met all his goals in the military, and his decision to stay on gave him more time to complete his BA in organizational leadership at the University of Charleston.
During his six-month transition out of the military, Gough started his new career search. He wanted something completely different but still challenging – something to keep him engaged, where he could again take a leadership role and work within high-performing teams.
“When I found out about the case manager position at Brotman Law, I thought it was a perfect fit. Other than using “Turbo Tax,” I knew nothing about tax law of course, but I thought I’d learn new things, work with attorneys and clients on interesting cases and eventually be able to lead, mentor and meet all of my personal goals,” he said.
As to his biggest life accomplishment so far, Gough said “building a reputation where people wanted to be on my team. I love to mentor and guide people. It fills my cup to know that I was doing all the things in a manner that people wanted to work with me.” Gough went on, “I made a lot of mistakes — we all do. Anytime I can help someone avoid those mistakes and choose a smarter path than I did, that’s a big accomplishment in my book.”
Ninety-five percent of his free time is spent with his family. Gough and his wife Amber have four children – three teenagers and a seven-year-old. Their pursuit of music, dance, art and athletics keep the family running both evenings and weekends. Lucky for them all both spouses are pretty good cooks, too.
Brotman Law will continue to grow with Gough’s successful command of tax law, and we are happy to have him aboard.