CORONADO, Calif. (September 3, 2015) – During a change of responsibility ceremony at Naval Special Warfare headquarters, Rear ADM Brian Losey symbolically passed the Force Master Chief’s cutlass from NSW Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci to Master Chief Derrick Walters. ADM Losey, Commander of Naval Special Warfare Command presided over the event where he commented on the accomplishments and “incredible support” of FORCM Magaraci, adding that he would be missed.
Besides being one of the most combat decorated Force Master Chiefs ever to have served the NSW community, the name Magaraci carries with it a long list of accomplishments so numerous he is destined to be referenced in the NSW community for decades to come.
Graduating as the Honor man of BUD/S class 155 in 1988, Magaraci went on to have a wide-reaching career spanning more than three decades, participating in conflicts in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has engaged up-close with the enemy, rescued American hostages, saved lives, guarded foreign presidents and Ambassadors. He has been on top secret missions where only a handful of people in our government were read-in on the operations. Magaraci is the only Master Chief in NSW to be the Command Master Chief of two SEAL Teams, and two NSW Groups, totaling five back-to-back CMC tours.
Besides being in harm’s way to defend freedom and democracy around the world, perhaps Magaraci’s greatest contributions were in building the community he served. He developed a deliberate 30-year career path for NSW enlisted leaders that includes joint education and joint tours, with the intent to get key leaders to 30-years and beyond in positions that will increase influence in SOF to keep us relevant and always in the fight. He was on the ground floor in the development of the Troop CPO and Squad LPO positions that increase the depth of experience and leadership opportunities for our front line tactical leaders. He assisted in the development of the Special Operations Tactical Paramedic that gives NSW our own organic advanced trauma capability. He created a CMC selection process that is utilized across NSW to select our most qualified Master Chiefs to the coveted SEAL Team CMC position. He also incorporated SWCC and Combat Service Support senior enlisted positions into the NSW headquarters staff, ensuring enlisted leadership representation from across the NSW community.
His influence and support in the Naval Special Warfare community reached across oceans and into every aspect of NSW programs, leadership development, our people and their families.
During his tour as NSW Force Master Chief he spoke with enlisted personnel at every possible opportunity, passing on the benefits of his knowledge and experience to Leading Petty Officer’s, Chief Petty Officers, SWCC classes, BUD/S classes, and with other Fleet CMCs at the Navy’s CMC symposium. He had a personal hand in the development of the Team Leader COI, the Troop CPO COI, the Platoon Leaders COI and the Instructor Qualification course that produces the most professional instructors in SOF.
“I took these opportunities as my most important contribution to NSW, forging our future leadership, I always promoted a spirit of constant evolution, to question all assumptions and being a good human being, the rest takes care of itself said Magaraci.”
“I can’t close my remarks without recognizing Master Chief Derrick Walters, there is no better Master Chief to carry the torch for Naval Special Warfare. Derrick is one of the finest, most respected enlisted leaders NSW has ever produced. With ADM Losey and Force Walters leading NSW we simply couldn’t be in better hands, they truly are the best we have in our arsenal.”
FORCE MASTER CHIEF MAGARACI’s final comments about the people that serve in Naval Special Warfare…
“Naval Special Warfare people are a rare breed of society who willingly defies the status quo, never accepting normal or average as a benchmark for their lives. Our people aggressively seek out every conceivable opportunity to go in harm’s way to protect our country and our way of life. This has not come without great peril and tremendous loss. We have many wives, sons and daughters growing up without dads. We have many that have made the ultimate sacrifice, paid the ultimate price; the most selfless act a human can ever do; to die in defense of another. In spite of this tragic loss, we have not let this define us; we are a remarkably resilient community who takes care of each other in time of need, one big family, and one close-knit community. There are no boundaries in NSW, we are a “welded wing” community, everyone contributing equally regardless of warfare designator or chosen field of expertise…everyone has sacrificed and endured great loss equally…together, one team, one fight!
“One of my former commanding officers used to say, “we can’t be intoxicated by successes, nor defeated by failure.” We are not perfect; no one is. We have some gaps, and we never hide from our gaps, it’s always about continuous evolution in NSW. This is how we remain relevant and always in the fight. Two areas of immediate concern are unwanted public exposure that damages our valuable credibility; credibility earned in blood. The other is running a tight game with respect to high risk training events and controlling risk in our personal lives. Recommitting to our Ethos, educating and informing our retired community, and self-policing at the lowest level will change behaviors with respect to unwanted exposure. On risk management, our community has been in harm’s way for so long, risk and danger are part of our normal operating mode. We have become comfortable running pegged-out and in the red, we have become comfortable doing the uncomfortable. The silent killer in this mode is complacency. We need to shine the light of awareness and accountability on risk mitigation during high-risk training evolutions, and in the conduct of our personal lives. Constant, persistent, engaged leadership at every level will remedy this gap. Being honest, transparent, and taking positive action will ensure we continuously learn from our mistakes so that we can always protect our most valuable asset: our people.”
“Break…I want to personally acknowledge my Warrior Princess, Eileen Magaraci. Without her 32-years of loyal, dedicated support, none of this would have been possible for me. She is my pillar of strength and my source of motivation to always try harder. Eileen, I love you.”
WELCOMING THE “NEW GUY”
After recognizing the contributions of Magaraci, Losey then introduced NSW’s new FORCM, MCPO Derrick “Wally” Walters, the 8th NSW force master chief.
“We’re handing it over to the best possible guy, who is acknowledged throughout the force.” Losey finished.
WALTERS’ NAVY JOURNEY
Master Chief Walters joined the Navy through the Dive Fair Program. While in boot camp in Orlando, Florida he was given three tries to pass the Navy SEAL entry test. When the SEAL instructor blew a whistle to start the 500-metered timed swim test, the New York City raised athlete quickly found that doggy paddling wasn’t going to get him a passing score. But it was the only stroke he knew.
“And there I was doggy paddling. And the guys had already done one lap and I had only moved 20 yards. I said this is not good. When the time had elapsed I had only gone 100 yards so I did not pass,” said Walters.
After splashing about in the pool he moved on to complete the rest of the SEAL tests. “I crushed everyone else at the other events,” said Walters. In those days the Navy’s Dive Fair Program allowed for three attempts at the SEAL entry test.
Weeks later at his second attempt in the pool; more dog paddling. But a certain Navy SEAL instructor saw potentials in Walters and during boot camp’s workweek he made sure Walters was assigned to work at the pool.
After graduating from boot camp Walters reported to Intelligence Specialist A-school in Virginia Beach, VA, and then he was off to BUD/S where he began and finished in BUDs class 154, graduating in 1988.
GETTING TO KNOW THE NEW NSW FORCM
Birthplace: Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1969.
Raised: New York City.
Family: Married with three kids. Oldest daughter is a senior in college.
Pets: “We’re dog lovers. We have one dog. Its name is Coco. It’s a poodle but it’s my wife’s dog. I don’t have poodles. I had an American Bulldog but lost him recently.”
Hobbies: “I enjoy freshwater fishing. Working out and lifting weights. I’m an avid football fan and very family oriented.”
Football: Pittsburg Steelers AKA Terrible Towels High school sports: Played football. Was on the track and field team and participated in the 100-meter, 4×100-meter, and ran the long and triple jump.
Saturday morning: “I wake up, knock down a few cups of coffee then jump in the GTO and go work out. Maybe even some paddle boarding or both. The rest of the day is spent with the family being active and then watching football.”
The morning drive: “I listen to hip-hop. I have an AUX cable so I’m probably pop’ n in some Jay-z, Drake or Kendrick Lamar. I grew up in New York City. I grew up listing to LL Cool J and HouDini, all those guys, and after spending a few years in Belgium I also listen to EDM (European Dance Music).”
ON THE JOB
As the force master chief of Naval Special Warfare, Walters has a global reach representing the entire footprint of NCOs in NSW worldwide. The FORCM roll is to advise the commander and the senior staff officer on all matters, particularly in matters that have to do with NCOs and ensuring operational compliance with policies, training and maintenance of discipline.
“I will continue to look at ways to develop our force, in particular our NCOs when it comes to education and development, to ensure we are setting our guys up to fill critical leadership roles within the joint SOF community. We are continuing to improve access, placement and influence. To get influence we have to develop our NCOs so they can fill critical joint SOF leadership positions.” said Walters.”
Walters says he will continue to build upon Magaraci’s accomplishments, which have set up NSW for success, but says the community needs to get back to the silent professional motto.
“I grew up in a time when our community valued quiet professionalism,” said Walters. “I am concerned just like most of the community is on the recent overexposure though books published and other endeavors in social media which has potentially called into question our credibility. Our culture cannot shift away from this quiet professionalism by seeking recognition for our accolades. As the force master chief I want our community to reconnect with quiet professionalism.”
Walters went on to add that talking about tactics with people outside the NSW community is dangerous and should be avoided.