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Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Command Master Chief Donald Henderson retires after 30-year career

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Command Master Chief Donald Henderson, right, returns the salute of the current and former chief petty officers who lined the ceremonial brow at Henderson’s retirement ceremony at Jacksonville’s Friendship Fountain. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Command Master Chief Donald Henderson, right, returns the salute of the current and former chief petty officers who lined the ceremonial brow at Henderson’s retirement ceremony at Jacksonville’s Friendship Fountain. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

Jul 18, 2018

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) From left to right, Chief Petty Officer Steven Cordero, Command Master Chief Jeremy Bridges, Capt. Trent DeMoss, Command Master Chief Donald Henderson and Chaplain James Askiew salute as the color guard passes by at Henderson’s retirement ceremony at Jacksonville’s Friendship Fountain. (U.S. Navy photo by VictorPitts/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) From left to right, Chief Petty Officer Steven Cordero, Command Master Chief Jeremy Bridges, Capt. Trent DeMoss, Co ...

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – “Have a fine Navy day,” was the parting salutation Sailors and civilians of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast heard from Command Master Chief Donald Henderson.

His retirement ceremony at Jacksonville’s Friendship Fountain on Friday marked the end of his tenure at the Navy aviation maintenance, overhaul and repair facility, as well as the end of 30 years of service to his country.

Both he and the Navy have changed in that timespan.

“When I came in the Navy during the 1980s, some of the work centers could still be a little caustic,” Henderson said. “I think back to when I would walk up the ship’s brow five minutes before it was time to muster.

“Why did I do that? Because I dreaded coming in to work.”

However, it was during some of his difficult early days in the Navy where he began to learn how to lead by example.

“Some of my petty officers told me, ‘Hey, if you want to get anywhere in this Navy, you can’t operate like that. You need to be prepared for the day,’” he said. “So throughout the rest of my career, I took the approach that I want myself and my Sailors to look forward to coming in to work in the morning.”

Henderson’s bright and positive demeanor may not exactly fit the stereotype of a command master chief, but there’s no arguing with his results.

“I will tell you that I’ve been in the Navy for more than 27 years, and no one does it better,” said FRCSE Commanding Officer Captain Trent DeMoss.

Henderson’s background as an aviation support equipment technician served him well at the facility. Under his tutelage, Sailors at FRCSE’s detachments Jacksonville and Mayport scored a 98.9 and 95.6, respectively. Both scores were the highest ever achieved at the detachments.

“You can see his love for the Navy in the smile on his face every morning, and in the enthusiasm he shows in working with our Sailors and civilians every single day,” DeMoss said. “He’s had a lasting effect on this depot.”

Henderson’s love of the Navy is only surpassed by his love for his family, and that was what ultimately pushed him to retire.

“I’ve been away from my family for 13 years, the way I counted it, between time on deployment and geographical bachelor tours,” Henderson said. “It’s not lost on me how much they’ve sacrificed as well.”

Henderson’s nine deployments spanned the carriers USS Saratoga, Enterprise, George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Carl Vinson.

A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Henderson plans to stay in the Jacksonville area with his wife, two sons and grandchildren.

Have a fine Navy day.

FRCSE Public Affairs
(904) 790-4706

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120506-N-ZI635-242 PACIFIC OCEAN (May 6, 2012) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman George M. Bell/Released)

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) From left to right, Command Master Chief Donald Henderson poses for a photo with his sons, wife and Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Commanding Officer Capt. Trent DeMoss. Henderson retired from the Navy after 30 years of honorable service. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) From left to right, Command Master Chief Donald Henderson poses for a photo with his sons, wife and Fleet Readiness ...

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Executive Officer Col. Fred Schenk, middle, reads the 13 Folds, as two Marines fold the flag for presentation to Command Master Chief Henderson’s mother-in-law. (U.S. Navy photo by Victor Pitts/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 13, 2018) Fleet Readiness Center Southeast Executive Officer Col. Fred Schenk, middle, reads the 13 Folds, as two Marines fol ...

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