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Values in service: FLTCM Myrick’s exit interview 

Courtesy photo.

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Navy Fleet Master Chief Donald O. Myrick, U.S. Transportation Command senior enlisted leader, retires July 7, after 37 years of dedicated service. Myrick is the longest-serving active-duty enlisted Sailor and one of only seven actively serving fleet master chiefs — a testament to his extraordinary experience and dedication.  


As the first Sailor to hold the position of USTRANSCOM senior enlisted leader, he's been instrumental in shaping the future of the command. With his active-duty career coming to an end, we sat with Myrick to discuss his Navy career, his time at USTRANSCOM and the importance of family. 


Tell us about your path to the Navy: 


I never thought about joining the military. Not until one of my best friends, Cornelius, said he was going to join the Navy. He said, “I’m going down to the MEPS station to enlist in the Navy.” He asked me and another friend, Cal, if we would do it with him. Cal immediately said no. But I gave it a shot and the rest is history.  



We went down and met with a recruiter. We took the entrance exam. And that's how my career started. He helped me find direction because, at that point in my life, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. 


 


What advice would you give a young Myrick about joining the Navy? 


Considering I’ve been given the opportunity to serve for almost four decades, and I started this journey at 19, I would not give any advice or change a single thing. Life is a transformative and evolutionary process of success and challenge. As we mature and are exposed to more, our apertures open and redefine who we are as professionals. I’m honored for the investment our nation made in me, and I will continue to push for renewed service of our populace in support of our democratic ideals and freedoms. 


 


What or who has been your biggest influence? 



My uncle Donnie who raised me as his son. He instilled values in me prior to my military service that when aligned with the core values of my U.S. Navy service, only strengthened my resolve.  He particularly taught me these principles: No one can take your character, integrity, or professionalism — you have to give it away. Working with him as a landscaper during the summers infused values and a work ethic that nothing has surpassed. In comparison, as challenging as military service can be, his efforts made my assimilation less challenging. Nothing or no one has ever worked me harder than he did. He made me who I am today; no one has had such a profound influence on my life than him. 


What is TRANSCOM's secret sauce? 



Hands down, it’s our people! Never in my career have I been surrounded by so many talented, dedicated professionals. Their remarkable ability, regardless of where they are on the globe, to meet whatever is required from the commander-in-chief and the secretary of defense is beyond reproach. Every time USTRANSCOM has been called upon, the professionals within this enterprise meet and execute the mission. Our ability to move people and equipment anywhere on the globe at any time and place of our choosing is TRANSCOM’s secret sauce, and no other nation can execute at this scope and scale.   



Looking back on your career, what are you most proud of/what is your greatest accomplishment? 


As I reflect upon my 37 years of active service, it is hard to identify one item I consider my greatest accomplishment, but there are two that were defining moments. First, I deployed to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom as the senior enlisted leader of a logistics-embedded training team member with 24 other Sailors. We were responsible for training Afghan National Army soldiers in logistics and supply chain management. This required us to convoy six days a week, and I’m proudest that I brought every one of those service members home without loss of life. 




Second, as the executive assistant to the master chief petty officer of the Navy, I was a pivotal member in developing the Laying the Keel initiative that drove the professional development of the Navy’s enlisted force from accession to retirement. 



What are you looking forward to most after retirement? 


Looking back over my 37-year career, it was a lot of separation from my family. I have 15 years of sea time and countless deployments — I think I’m up to 11 or 12 — and when you start equating all that time, it’s time away from family. So, the one thing I am looking forward to the most is spending more time with my family.