A SEAL has been tabbed to become the next fleet master chief of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples, according to a press release from 6th Fleet.

Adm. James G. Foggo III announced that Force Master Chief (SEAL) Derrick Walters will replace incumbent Fleet Master Chief Raymond Kemp.

Walters has served in the Navy for 31 years. He’s expected to take the post in early spring.

“Force Master Chief Walters has a stellar record,” said Foggo in the release. “Accordingly, he rose to the top of an impressive list of candidates considered for this critical job and I look forward to the pride, professionalism, and experience he will bring to our mission in Europe and Africa.”

Currently the Force Master Chief for Naval Special Warfare in Coronado, California, Walters, 49, will become the first SEAL to serve as a fleet master chief.

The position is one of four fleet master chiefs in the Navy. The other three are at Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii and the office of Navy Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education in Washington, D.C.

Since early 2018, all four positions were turned over to new master chiefs. They serve as an executive advisory panel to Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SW/IW/AW) Russ Smith.

Walters has served in SEAL Teams 2 and 8, plus Naval Special Warfare Group 2′s training detachment.

He returned to SEAL Team 2 as the Operations and Command Master Chief and did a repeat tour with Special Warfare Group 2 as the Senior Enlisted Adviser.

He also served as the Command Master Chief at Naval Special Warfare Center and was the Senior Enlisted Leader at NATO Special Operations headquarters before becoming the Force Master Chief of Naval Special Warfare Command, according to the Navy.

Records provided to Navy Times by Special Operations Command indicate that Walters, a Pennsylvania native, enlisted on Aug. 24, 1987.

His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and two Meritorious Service Medals.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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