GLENDALE, Ariz. – Navy Operational Support Center Phoenix reserve members gathered together to bid farewell to one of their beloved leaders. In a time-honored tradition, Master Chief Navy Equipmentman William W. Warren hung up his hardhat after 30 years of honorable service during a retirement ceremony Feb. 22, 2014.
Warren was born in Frankfurt, Germany to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. William Warren and his wife Deloris. A native of Phoenix, he graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management in 2003 then went on to earn a master’s degree in Education Leadership from Northern Arizona University in 2008.
Warren enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve in Phoenix under the Advanced Pay Grade Program as an Equipment Operator Petty Officer Second Class March 15, 1983 and subsequently deployed on missions around the world during three decades of service that spanned across several time zones.
He served with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 17, Port Hueneme, Calif.; NMCB 16, Phoenix; 31st Naval Mobile Construction Regiment, Port Hueneme, Calif.; 31st Seabee Readiness Group, Port Hueneme, Calif.; Naval Construction Force Support Unit 2, Port Hueneme, Calif., and Volunteer Training Unit 1908G, Phoenix.
Nearly every seat was filled by senior and junior shipmates, civilian guests, family and friends during the ceremony to highlight Warren’s extensive military service. The Arizona Veterans Band kicked off the ceremony with traditional military signatures and Christine Henry sang a soulful rendition of the national anthem.
Master Chief Construction Mechanic Jon Morton, who served with Warren, introduced Chief of Staff of the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command Augment Unit Navy Capt. Steven Kelley as one of the guest speakers.
“I’m deeply honored to have been asked to participate in this important ceremony for such a disguised service member,” said Kelley, who spoke highly of the contributions Warren made throughout his naval career.
Kelley served with Warren as the commanding officer of NMCB 17 and noted that the master chief played a significant role in combat construction operations while deployed to Iraq and described the difficulties faced during the mission which included moving an entire battalion from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Warren’s son and daughter were among the guest speakers.
“Let me tell you how great my dad is,” said his daughter, April Warren. “When he caught me smoking, he took the cigarettes and handed one to my friend. He told her to put one in her mouth and of course I was shocked and asked what he was doing. He replied, ‘I’m showing you how stupid you look [laughter].’ My dad is a great teacher and by the way, to this day I don’t smoke.”
When it was Warren’s turn to take the podium, he said “Nobody does this by themselves,” graciously thanked his family, spoke about the leaders who motivated him during his career, discussed what it meant to be mission ready then read a quote from former President John F. Kennedy.
“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.’”
Warren, the former command master chief for NMCB 17, leaves a strong legacy built on honor, trust, taking care of his Seabees and a can-do spirit.
“This is what the U.S. Navy is all about,” Senior Chief Equipment Operator Joseph Zaleski said after the ceremony. “This ceremony is fitting for a master chief of his caliber and contributions to service. This should set the example for junior Seabees and Sailors as something special to achieve.”
Warren is qualified Seabee Combat Warfare and his awards and decorations include: Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards); Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards) ; Navy Unit Commendation; Battle “E” Ribbon; Navy Reserve Meritorious Service Medal (seven awards); National Defense Medal (two awards); Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star; Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Ribbon; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M and Gold Hourglass; NATO Medal; Sharpshooter Navy Pistol Ribbon and the Expert Navy Rifle Ribbon.
For more news about NMCB 17, visit www.public.navy.mil/necc/1ncd/Pages/NMCB17/default.aspx. Learn more about Navy Public Affairs Support Element West at http://www.navy.mil/local/nrpacensd/ or visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy or www.twitter.com/usnavy.