Rick D. West – 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (retired)
Rick became the 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) on December 12, 2008, and served until September 28, 2012.
He was born in Rising Fawn, Georgia, and entered the U.S. Navy immediately upon graduating from high school in 1981. After recruit training and quartermaster training in Orlando, Florida, he attended Basic Enlisted Submarine School (Naval Submarine Base New London) in Groton, Connecticut.
His first duty assignment was aboard USS Ethan Allen (SSN 608), where he completed submarine qualifications. Other assignments included USS Thomas Edison (SSN 610), USS Sea Devil (SSN 664), Commander Naval Activities United Kingdom (COMNAVACTUK), USS Tecumseh (SSBN 628)(Blue), and Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) Staff (TRE Team).
West was assigned as chief of the boat (COB) aboard the San Diego-based fast-attack submarine USS Portsmouth (SSN 707), where he completed two Western Pacific deployments and was selected to the Command Master Chief (CMC) program. The Portsmouth crew twice earned the Battle Efficiency (“E”) Award.
Upon completion of a CMC tour at Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) ELEVEN, West was selected as COMSUBPAC force master chief (FORCM) from 2001 to 2004. During this time, he also attended the Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA) in Newport, Rhode Island. After completing the force master chief tour, FORCM West then reverted back to command master chief and reported as the CMC to USS Preble (DDG 88) in San Diego. He deployed on the ship’s maiden voyage to the Arabian Gulf and qualified as an enlisted surface warfare specialist. The crew earned the Preble’s first-ever Battle Efficiency (“E”) Award.
West was selected during his tour on Preble to serve as Pacific Fleet master chief (FLTCM) from February 2005 to June 2007. Following PACFLT, he served as fleet master chief for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command from June 2007 to December 2008. West was the first senior enlisted leader to serve as fleet master chief for both operational fleets.
West’s personal awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), Enlisted Submarine Insignia, Enlisted Surface Warfare Insignia, and SSBN Deterrent Patrol Pin.
He retired from active duty in January 2013 and currently works for Progeny Systems. He also serves as a military advisor for Veterans United, is active within the Navy supporting boards and Navy chief petty officers community, regularly speaks at Navy events, and conducts fleet visits.
Rick and his wife, Bobbi, have two sons and live in Poulsbo, Washington.