CHINHAE, Republic of Korea -- Senior Chief Operations Specialist John Venetsanakos relieved Command Master Chief (CMC) William Palmer as command senior enlisted leader (SEL) of Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae (CFAC) during a change of charge ceremony on the installation, May 7.
Cmdr. Jeremy Ewing, commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae, oversaw the ceremony, which was attended by U.S. service members, CFAC civilian employees and Republic of Korea (ROK) navy senior enlisted leaders.
“The duties and responsibilities involved being the command SEL are incredible,” Ewing said. “Not only does this person have to be an integral component in accomplishing the big picture mission of the triad on the peninsula, but they also need to be the able to look out for all the enlisted Sailors at the command and have their backs as well.”
During his remarks, Ewing emphasized Palmer’s role in supporting operations and Sailors in the ROK.
“I feel as if I’m losing my right hand,” Ewing said. “Master Chief Palmer’s tireless effort and support to the Sailors and to the U.S.-ROK alliance has been second to none. He’s done an exceptional job here.”
Ewing also said he is confident that Venetsanakos is more than ready to serve as the command’s new SEL.
“Senior Chief has done this sort of job before and done a tremendous job of it while at previous commands,” Ewing said. “I have the utmost confidence he will continue the trend and do a masterful job.”
During the ceremony, Ewing presented Palmer with a Meritorious Service Medal for his achievements while serving as CFAC CMC.
After receiving the award, Palmer thanked the crowd for their support during his 18 months as SEL.
“Thank you all for the commitment and tireless dedication you’ve all brought every day for the last 18 months since I have been the CMC here,” Palmer said. “I know that this base and its people will help to keep it that way for many more years, and the alliance will only get stronger.”
After concluding his remarks, Palmer officially transferred charge to Venetsanakos, who expressed his gratitude and commitment to the CFAC staff.
“I look forward to serving as the acting SEL as we continue to build upon the many great accomplishments everyone has worked so hard to achieve,” Venetsanakos said. “I look forward to keeping our alliance as strong as ever and constantly improving the quality of life for Sailors and their families here.”
CFAC is the only U.S. Navy installation in the Republic of Korea, and its mission is to provide on-peninsula service, expertise, and material support to the fleet, Sailors, and civilians and the U.S.-ROK alliance through joint armistice, training exercises, and contingency operations.