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    A Legacy of Excellence: Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Command Master Chief Retires after 31 Years of Dedicated Service

    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Command Master Chief Retires After 31 Years of Service

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Decker | 240419-N-KC192-2272 PORTSMOUTH, Va. (April 19, 2024) Retired Naval Medical Forces...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Decker 

    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic

    After nearly 32 years of faithful and honorable service, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (NMFL) Command Master Chief (CMC) Zachary Pryor, a native of Alliance, Nebraska, went ashore for the final time during his retirement ceremony on board Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads – Portsmouth Annex, April 19, 2024.

    Pryor joined the Navy in May of 1993 after his mother introduced him to recruiters in his hometown. Upon completion of boot camp in Recruit Training Command, San Diego, he attended Hospital Corpsman “A” School and Operating Room Technician “C” School at The Naval School of Health Science, also in San Diego.

    “I have loved the military since I was in grade school,” reminisced Pryor. “I always playing with the toy army men, G.I. Joe guys and everything and anything else related to war. In 1992, 1993, my mom sent every recruiter my way and I spoke with them all. Joining the military was a no-brainer, but the Navy stuck due to its medical ties. But I also joined out of love, I wanted to have a job with benefits to support and marry the love of my life, now my wife.”

    Pryor’s extensive service includes, serving at 13 commands and five as CMC, before joining the NMFL family in 2021 for a final tour of duty.

    "It was an honor to get selected and serve as the NMFL CMC," said Pryor. "Serving with two different admirals, one now who is the Surgeon General of the Navy, was amazing as was getting to see all the commands that we serve as their immediate superior in command. The admirals and I traveled to see our phenomenal Sailors, the commands they represent, the eagerness to show us their success. It was awesome.”

    Pryor continued, expressing gratitude for the NMFL Staff: "Furthermore, the NMFL Staff is a fantastic team; from the most junior enlisted, to the 1st Class Mess, the Chief Petty Officers, the wardroom and our great civilian staff. I was blessed to serve them."

    Reflecting on his impact, Pryor shared, "When I was interviewing for the Command Master Chief program, I said that as a prior hospital corpsman, I could come back and truly affect my rate in a very positive way, I feel that I accomplished that very well as NMFL’s CMC. Operationally, helping with building our Expeditionary Medical forces, and within the Navy Medicine community by helping hundreds of [hospital corpsman] get into various C schools that will have a lasting effect on them and their commands in the future."

    He further elaborated, "The best part of this whole tour was going around to our 21 commands and clinics and having a Sailor tell me ‘Thank you’ for helping them in some way, or wanting to get a selfie with me because I was able to mentor them in some way. What a blessing and it was a truly honorable way for me to end my career.”

    Together with his son, Ensign Timothy Pryor, currently assigned to the U.S. Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) they represent more than 40 years of Naval Service. His son, a prior enlisted corpsman, was commissioned as part of the Health Professions Scholarship Program, which provides educational and commission opportunities for service members and civilians.

    “Serving alongside my father in the Navy has been an incredible honor,” said Pryor. “I am grateful for all his years of service and selfless sacrifice to our great nation. He’s developed leaders, deployed into harm’s way, around the world, thanked those on duty every chance he could, healed the sick and cared for the wounded. He could shoot as well as any Marine, and genuinely loved serving with his Sailors, Officers, and his Chief's Mess. I am incredibly proud to call him my father.”

    The NMFL CMC was recently awarded the Legion of Merit by Rear Adm Matthew Case, commander, NMFL, and chief, Medical Service Corps for his years of service.

    “It's been a heck of a ride, huh?” Case laughed. “It's been a whirlwind and I thank you for being part of that incredible run with us as we traveled throughout the country and the world as we thanked our Sailors and along the way we discovered and fixed things to improve their ability to do their mission and to improve the quality of service that they get and that they provide to our Navy. Thank you for all you have done.”

    The Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery Force Master Chief PatrickPaul Mangaran recounted Pryor’s career, sharing how they had met, and the legacy he will leave behind.

    “Zach’s legacy that he leaves behind are Sailors like me, and his son, Ensign Pryor. I mean, everything that you've done to teach me and mentor me ... and here we are today and you're still providing me mentorship. ... Zach, you've left a legacy for each and every one of us to continue to serve one another and to build relationships. Thank you.”

    As Pryor prepares for retirement, and transitions into a leadership role within a hospital setting he took a moment to share a heartfelt nugget of wisdom with all Sailors before departing.

    “I want you all to think about these next words,” began Pryor, a proud smile on his face. “All of you, every single one of you in uniform right now, since 1775, from the war of independence to the World Wars, the United States has been the Super Bowl champions of the world when it comes to warfare, and as we all know, everybody wants to beat the Super Bowl champions. But, if you have the watch, if you're holding the line, nobody is going to beat us. I want you to go back and tell your Sailors that, to get them to understand that.

    They have to be the best at what they do every day from when they put their uniform on to when they show up in their shop or whatever they're doing for the Navy. Be infectious with your leadership, there is a reason you stuck around in this fantastic organization; likely because you looked at somebody and said, I want to be like that person. There's somebody in your shop that's looking at you and thinking that same thought right now; I guarantee you! It's been an honor and a privilege to serve for 31 years as one of your nation's protectors. Thank you!”

    Pryor holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management from Touro University International and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Trident University.

    His warfare qualifications include: Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, Enlisted Expeditionary Warfare Specialist, and Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist. His personal awards include Legion of Merit, Meritorious Achievement Medal (2 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (5 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (7 awards), Combat Action Ribbon and numerous unit and campaign awards.

    NMFL, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, delivers operationally focused medical expertise and capabilities to meet Fleet, Marine and Joint Force requirements by providing equipment, sustainment and maintenance of medical forces during combat operations and public health crises. NMFL provides oversight for 21 NMRTCs, logistics, and public health and dental services throughout the U.S. East Coast, U.S. Gulf Coast, Cuba, Europe, and the Middle East.

    Navy Medicine – represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals – provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warfighter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.



    Date Taken: 04.26.2024
    Date Posted: 04.26.2024 15:33
    Story ID: 469669

    Web Views: 61
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