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    We Are MSC: Hard Work, Mentorship Drives USNS Newport JSO Success

    We Are MSC: Hard Work, Mentorship Drives USNS Newport JSO Success

    Photo By Hendrick Dickson | JOINT EXPEDITIONARY BASE LITTLE CREEK-FORT STORY (September 15, 2022) Military Sealift...... read more read more



    Story by Hendrick Dickson 

    USN Military Sealift Command

    Each of the more than 7,000 civil service mariners at Military Sealift Command (MSC) has a story about their experience. If you heard all of these stories they almost certainly would vary, but for many, there would be familiar overtones of hard work, mentorship and commitment. Those would be the stories of the men and women who at some point decided they were going to make the most of their MSC career.

    It is the story of Derrick Valentine who after a few starts and stops, committed to taking advantage of every opportunity MSC had to offer and advanced from entry-level Steward Utility (SU) to Junior Supply Officer (JSO) aboard the Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel USNS Newport (T-EPF 12).

    The Virginia Beach native says after high school he moved through several jobs. But the path to MSC began when opportunity walked through the door of a popular convenient store chain where he worked in 2004.

    “I worked everywhere,” he said. “I was manager at a Krispy Kreme depot, I worked at a production facility and a 7-11. I was working at the 7-11 when a Supply Officer named Tyrone Trottman walked in one day. He knew me because I went to school with his sons and we played sports together. When he saw me, he pulled me aside and started telling me about MSC. He said ‘I tell people all the time what to do, what steps to take, but most of the times I never see them again.’ That wasn’t me. As soon as I finished doing everything he told me to do, I was at his front door.”

    That chance meeting resulted in Valentine taking his first assignment as an SU aboard USNS Concord. He began taking classes and trying to learn everything he could about the job. But after about four years he made a tough decision that would put his fledging mariner career on hold.

    “I began taking classes for storekeeper. I finished all of my classes, as a matter of fact, between 2007 and 2008. I sailed temp (temporary) on a couple of ships. But I decided to resign. I had a teenage son and I wanted to help raise him. I wanted to be there for my family.”

    After spending a few years with his family. Valentine decided it was time to get back out to sea. But having prior experience allowed him to rejoin with more incentives in his favor.

    “When I left, I was an SU. When I came back in 2012, they were hiring ASKs (assistant storekeeper) and YNSKs (yeoman storekeeper). I had taken all those classes before I resigned so when I reapplied, I reapplied for both. They called me and said they would hire me for either and asked which one I wanted to be. It was a no-brainer for me to choose YNSK.”

    Valentine’s career path was becoming a bit clearer. However, it required a little nudging from a few veteran Supply Officers to get him going.

    “When I got the position, I knew the book part of it. Now I had to put in the hands-on work. Two people who helped me the most were Theresa DuBois and Eric Crisp. They were both great mentors. Eric was very meticulous. I would bring him an 1149 (requisition form), and he would pull out his red pen and tear it up. I would be so mad. But I learned a lot, and after a while he didn’t need that red pen anymore,” he said smiling.

    Other leaders in the Supply community began noticing Valentine’s work and commitment. One Supply Officer in particularly made him an offer he literally couldn’t refuse.

    “I was starting a tour USNS Wally Schirra and the Supply Officer, Rosalyn Pridgeon, came to me my second day onboard and said ‘you’re going to be my JSO’,” he said. “She named me cargo JSO for about six weeks. When the announcement for JSO was coming up, she told me to write my package and she was going to review it. At the time, I wasn’t trying to be a JSO, honestly. I was comfortable where I was. So I didn’t do it. About three days before closing she asked for my package and I didn’t have anything. She closed the door and snapped on me!”

    “She told me I was wasting my time and that I was supposed to be moving up. After that talk, I wrote my package in two days. I didn’t get best qualified that time but I got qualified. Her lighting that fire made me keep pushing until I got best qualified.”

    Valentine says being JSO aboard Newport has been one of the many highlights of his career. He makes sure the 26-member crew has everything they need to accomplish their mission. From repair parts and supplies to consumables that make the comfort of living onboard better. He is a catalyst for keeping Newport going.

    “Derrick encapsulates everything amazing about this organization,” said Newport Master, Capt. Victor Martino. “Demonstrating hard work and dedication can and will take you anywhere. He has been in the MSC for a number of years and is one of the hardest working individuals I know.”

    Valentine credits his family for helping him through his career. From the matriarch of the family, his grandmother, to his kids and former wife. They have all inspired him through his journey. Not to mention the long tradition of working around ships in his family.

    “My whole family are longshoremen. My grandfather for 50-something years, my uncles – the whole family. I’m the oddball who joined MSC,” he laughed. “Now my son has his passport and TWIC card, but he also wants to be a longshoreman. I’m going to help him either way.”

    Valentine’s own journey isn’t complete just yet. There is still one more rung up the promotion ladder he has yet to be climb.

    “I’ve got one more step to go. I want to make Supply Officer,” he said. “Eventually, I’ll have to leave this platform and go back over to the big boys and make it. That is my ultimate goal.”

    If hard work and dedication is the indicator, it will be only a matter of time before he reaches that goal. But as for now, he’ll continuing writing his MSC story. To Be Continued…



    Date Taken: 09.28.2022
    Date Posted: 09.28.2022 12:34
    Story ID: 430264
    Location: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, US

    Web Views: 385
    Downloads: 1