The Highest-Ranking Enlisted Seabee: A Tour de ‘Force’

Story by Scott Ghiringhelli, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Headquarters Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – A Change of Badge ceremony was held for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Seabee Force Master Chief from Force Master Chief (FORCM) Percy Trent Jr., to Command Master Chief Delbert Terrell Jr., at the Naval Sea Systems Command auditorium on the Washington Navy Yard, June 14.

Force Master Chief Percy Trent (left) pins a force master chief badge to Force Master Chief Delbert Terrell during a change of badge ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., June 14, 2019. Terrell is the 18th Force Master Chief of the Seabees. (Photo by MC1 Gary Granger Jr.)


Terrell took the helm as the 18th force master chief of the Seabees and NAVFAC command master chief upon Trent’s retirement after 30 years of service.

NAVFAC Commander and Chief of Naval Civil Engineers Rear Adm. John W. Korka spoke about the meaning of the badge and the responsibility that it entails.

“This afternoon, we’re going to witness a change of badge, the transition of the mantle of the force master chief of the Seabees,” Korka said. “The badge is the marker of the force master chief’s responsibility, which is to be the voice and the advocate of our enlisted Sailors and their families regardless of where they are stationed.”

Korka went on to say that despite not having a unified command, “…Seabees remain united, cohesive and combat ready. Why are Seabees united in spirit, committed to warfighting and always at the ready to support our Navy and Marine Corps combat team? My answer is pretty simple, it is our culture. ”

“For our community, the force master chief of the Seabees is the primary caretaker of that unique culture,” Korka added. “I am forever grateful to Force Master Chief Trent for keeping me in touch with our Seabees, and everyday helping me to remember our own builders and warfighters.

Prior to assuming the duties of the highest-ranking enlisted Seabee in March 2016, Trent served as the installation command master chief of Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California. Trent, a native of Bluefield, Virginia, enlisted in the Navy in July of 1989 and has served throughout the world, including deployments to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rear Adm. John Korka (left), Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command congratulates and welcomes the 18th Force Master Chief of the Seabees, Force Master Chief Delbert Terrell (right), during a change of badge ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., June 14, 2019. (Photo by MC1 Gary Granger Jr.)


“I’m truly humbled to have had the opportunity to answer the call for this nation for the past 30 years,” said Trent. “To my NAVFAC family, each and every one of you contribute to making this organization great in your own unique way. Keep working hard supporting the Navy warfighter.”

Of his successor, Trent commented, “I couldn’t think of a more qualified person to take the helm.”

A native of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, Terrell joined the Navy in 1988.

“To the NAVFAC team, I am truly excited to join you, and we’ll do whatever possible it is to move the chief’s vision and mission forward so we are prepared for that high-end fight,” said Terrell. “I am all in, we are in this together, and we are ready to do this.”

Terrell is Seabee combat warfare specialist and fleet Marine Force qualified. He has served at the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) where he provided an electrical infrastructure that can support delivery of uninterrupted communications to the President of the United States, the White House staff, the United States Secret Service, and WHCA personnel anywhere in the world. Terrell has deployed to Iraq, Africa and in support of hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires.

“He has taken the hard jobs time and time again; Master Chief Terrell has kept our cultural flame burning bright,” Korka said. “Welcome to the team, shipmate.”

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