Ho'okele Staff | Jun 04, 2011
Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
A Sailor from Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific (ATG MIDPAC) became the first female African-American master chief in the damage control-man (DC) rating May 9.
Master Chief Damage Controlman Terryl Brewster was frocked to the rank of master chief during a ceremony at the ATG MIDPAC headquarters building on Ford Island.
“This is a very humbling experience for me. I visualize myself as a valuable leader and mentor regardless of what my ethnicity is. With that said, I know that I was chosen because of my sustained superior performance and not because I’m a woman nor because I’m African-American,” Brewster said.
“Nevertheless, I’m honored to be selected and identified as the first African-American female in the DC rating. I know this is a major accomplishment and will be an inspiration to junior Sailors regardless of their race, creed, color or gender, and I’m glad to share my experiences and challenging times, because it wasn’t easy,” she noted.
Brewster has been in the Navy for more than 24 years and said she has had some very important people help her get to where she is today.
“I’ve had some great mentors, but I must say that of them all, Kirk Roach, who became my mentor on 1997 when I was on board the USS Mahan and who is still an instrumental factor in guiding me today, has been the greatest of them all,” Brewster said.
“Also, there is my older sister Temperance Jones. Whenever I felt things were overwhelming, she encouraged me to move on. She was that mother and confidant to me.”
Capt. John Figuerres, commanding officer of ATG MIDPAC, spoke about Brewster’s accomplishments as a Sailor and as a person.
“Master Chief Brewster’s accomplishments are outstanding and when taken in the context of all her life experiences, they are absolutely amazing,” Figuerres said. “She is at the top of her rate at a time of immense competition in the Navy when retention is at its highest. She is a successful parent. She has a tremendous work ethic and inner strength that you do not find often enough,” Figuerres added.
The damage controlman rating was established in 1948. Damage controlman is the Navy’s maintenance and repair specialist and does the work necessary for damage control, ship stability, firefighting, fire prevention, and chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) warfare defense.