Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West was born in Rising Fawn, Ga. He graduated from Northwest Georgia High School in 1981 and immediately entered the U.S. Navy.
West received recruit training and Quartermaster training at Orlando, Fla., followed by Enlisted Submarine School at Groton, Conn. His first duty assignment was aboard USS Ethan Allen (SSN 608) where he completed submarine qualifications. Other assignments include USS Thomas Edison (SSN 610), USS Sea Devil (SSN 664), Commander Naval Activities United Kingdom (COMNAVACTUK), USS Tecumseh (SSBN 628)(Blue), and Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) Staff (TRE Team).
West was then assigned as Chief of the Boat aboard the San Diego-based fast-attack submarine, USS Portsmouth (SSN 707), where he completed two Western Pacific deployments and the crew earned two Battle Efficiency “E” awards.
Upon completion of a Command Master Chief (CMC) tour at Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) ELEVEN, he was selected as COMSUBPAC Force Master Chief from January 2001 to 2004. During this time, West also attended the Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, R.I. West then reported as the CMC to USS Preble (DDG 88) homeported in San Diego, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf and qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist.
West was selected during his tour on the Preble to serve as the Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), Fleet Master Chief from February 2005 to June 2007. Following PACFLT, he served as the 14th Fleet Master Chief for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command from June 2007 to December 2008.
West's personal awards include the Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), Enlisted Surface Warfare Insignia, Enlisted Submarine Insignia, and SSBN Deterrent Patrol Pin.
West became the 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy on Dec. 12, 2008.