WASHINGTON (NNS) -- One of the Navy's most accomplished master chiefs, responsible for the execution and success of several personnel initiatives retired from naval service today.
Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education, (MPT&E) Fleet Master Chief (AW/SW) April D. Beldo retired from the Navy in a ceremony held at the Fort Myer Memorial Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia, after 34 years of service - four served as the MPT&E fleet master chief.
Beldo's accomplishments during her 34-year tenure included being the first African American female command master chief (CMC) of an aircraft carrier, and the first African American female CMC of Recruit Training Command.
"She upheld the values of the Navy and the institution above everything else," said Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Bill Moran, a guest speaker in the ceremony. "She took this obligation to serve in our country the last 34 years freely, voluntary, and has served us faithfully."
Beldo's retirement ceremony hosted over 300 Sailors, civilians, friends and family members who all joined to wish her farewell. The presiding officer was Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Robert Burke, who spoke highly of Beldo's character and years of service.
"This is a hard day for the entire Navy as we say goodbye," said Burke. "You are a true shipmate, an incredible role model, a great leader and faithful friend. I will miss you - as will thousands of our Sailors."
During her remarks, Beldo talked about how much Sailors have meant to her during her career.
"To my shipmates, in and out of uniform, you have all been a part of my career, my success, and my navy chapter," said Beldo. "Without your guidance, your trust, and your faith in my ability to do what is right, this Navy journey would not have been successful, sustainable or enjoyable. I am a United States Sailor, forever."
Beldo, a native of Lancaster, California entered the Nay through the Delayed Entry Program and completed basic training at Recruit Training Center, Orlando Florida, in May 1983.
Following recruit training, Beldo reported to the Checkertails of Composite Squadron Five (VC-5) at Naval Air Station Cubi Point, Philippine Islands. While with the Checkertail's, she was detailed to attend Aviation Maintenance Administrationman "A" School in Meridian, Mississippi, returning to the squadron after graduation. Her follow on tours included assignments to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW-110) at NAS Miramar, California; Patrol Squadron 11 (VP-11) at NAS Brunswick, Maine; Naval Hospital Corpus Christi, Texas; and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6 (HS-6) at NAS North Island, California. While she was with HS-6 she deployed aboard the aircraft carriers USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and USS Kitty Hawk (CVN 63). She has also served at Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL) with their Aviation Maintenance Management Teams (AMMT), and aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), in Norfolk, Virginia.
In December 2002, Beldo was selected into the Command Master Chief Program and graduated as honor student of her Senior Enlisted Academy class. She then reported as Command Master Chief aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) from May 2003 to December 2005. After completing Recruit Division Commander School, she became Command Master Chief of Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois from April 2006 to June 2008. In July she assumed the duties of Command Master Chief at Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), Great Lakes, Illinois followed by a tour as Command Master Chief aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) from October 2009 to March 2012. Upon completion of her tour on board the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) she served as the Force Master Chief for Naval Education and Training Command from April 2012 to February 2013.
From March 2013 until today, Beldo served as Fleet Master Chief for the MPT&E domain.
Her personal awards include the Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal (four awards); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards) and numerous of unit awards. She also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Excelsior College and a Master's Degree from American Military University in management.
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