WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The 14th Force Master Chief (FORCM) of the Navy Reserve was appointed during a ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. June 16.
FORCM(AW) Chris T. Wheeler said it is an honor and a privilege to be given the chance to lead Sailors and advise on important Navy matters.
"It's an honor to work for such a great Navy Reserve," Wheeler said. "[FORCM(FMF) Ronney A. Wright] did a fantastic job with leading us in the direction we need to be. Of course, we have some big challenges ahead, and we feel we have everything in place to meet those challenges. I'm looking forward to taking on those challenges. It's what we Sailors do best."
Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Dirk J. Debbink, spoke at the ceremony about how chief petty officers drive the Navy Reserve forward, and passing the position of force master chief would greatly change Wheeler's world, but he would be up to the challenge.
"The new force master is certainly ready for the job," Debbink said. "He was carefully selected by a board of master chiefs, and I had the privilege of reviewing the selection process and I'm very confident he will do a great job. I guess my words of advice are 'hang on. It's going to be a fast ride.' I'm sure he will do a great job serving and supporting our force and our Sailors."
Following the appointment of Wheeler, departing FORCM Wright retired after 31 years of service.
"As the 14th FORCM you will be humbled by the opportunities you will have to meet and share with service members and families around the country and serving around the world," Wright said. "Be true to yourself and depend on the outstanding leadership in this room. They will support you because if you fail, they fail, and failure is not an option. Go forth and do great things for our Navy Reserve and our Navy."
The Navy Memorial auditorium was standing room only and as Wright gave his retirement speech, he asked everyone who serves to stand and recite the Sailor's Creed. As a united group the crowd stood and the Sailors Creed thundered through the room.
MCPON (SS/SW) Rick D. West spoke during his speech about the legacy Wright would leave behind.
"You never hear me say Navy Reserve unless I am making a point, and there is a reason for that," West said. "It wasn't always the case. He closed the gap. I get in a room; it's a room full of Sailors. There is no difference. If I go on a ship; it's a ship full of Sailors."
Wheeler has served 29 years in the Navy, previously serving as command master chief for Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve Command, and command master chief for Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific.
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