PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NNS) -- Master Chief Mineman Dean L. Venczel, one of the last first-generation Mineman in the U.S. Navy, retired from active duty June 9, in Panama City, after 30 years of active duty military service.
A Seattle, Washington native and the most recent Command Master Chief of Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Venczel was first driven to join the Navy after accompanying his friend to the Navy recruiter's office in 1987.
"The recruiter started talking with me and the next thing I knew, I was signing up for four years," said Venczel. "My original plan was to complete four years as a Mine Assemblyman, get out and go to college. After my first enlistment, it was just too hard to walk away - hence my 30 year career in the Navy."
Venczel said he does not consider himself the "Most Senior Mineman in the Navy," as there have been a lot of great Mineman throughout his career that could easily take on that title.
"The funny thing about being the 'Most Senior Mineman' in the Navy is there is always someone who will assume the title of Senior Mineman once you depart," said Venczel. "However, I am one of the last 'first-generation Mineman left in the Navy.'"
Personal milestones in Venczel's career include memorable moments such as "making chief," which he earned the ranks of Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer and Master Chief Petty Officer, all while stationed in Sasebo, Japan.
Throughout his career, Venczel has learned values he hopes to pass down through to Sailors hoping to achieve comparable success.
"Knowledge is power. Get every qualification that you can and never stop learning. Take on the hard jobs that no one else wants to do and you will be successful," Venczel said. "Always keep charging and continue to learn and excel at everything you do. Don't procrastinate - time is a thief and you cannot get it back."
Venczel said the most rewarding part of his Naval career was traveling around the world and meeting his wife.
"Without the Navy, I would have never met such an amazing woman and mother. She has been my inspiration to achieving all my success in the Navy," said Venczel. "They always say 'behind every successful Sailor there is a strong spouse.' I could not agree more!"
As an official retiree, Venczel reflects on his Naval career and gives thanks to those who made an impact on him through training and mentoring.
"As I look back on my career, I have to thank everyone who had a part in training and mentoring me through the ranks. I have met a lot of outstanding Mineman throughout my career - too many to list," added Venczel. "Everyone always remembers their first chief; mine was Chief Mineman Harold Williamson. I will always remember the great mentorship he provided me."
NSWC PCD: Force Behind the Mine Warfare Fleet
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