Retiring master chief honors his wife, family during Navy ceremony

Nikki Degan and Rosanna Brow pose with Cmdr. David Kindley during the Navy retirement ceremony for their father, Master Chief Petty Officer Sean P. Degan.<BR><I>Photo contributed by Ensign Antonio Swain</i>

Pendleton native Master Chief Petty Officer Sean P. Degan and his family were honored during a retirement ceremony Feb. 6 on the VFA-137 Kestrels, of the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, Calif.

The ceremony focused on the sacrifice Degan and his family made during his illustrious career as a Maintenance Master Chief Petty Officer and Aviation Structural Mechanic Master Chief (Structures) (AW).

He enlisted in the Navy as an airman recruit in 1979. As one would expect, Degan made numerous transfers, including of seven coast-to-coast moves.

Many of those present had the honor to reflect on Degan's career, but Capt. Alton Ross brought that reflection to life. Ross served as the guest speaker at the retirement ceremony and emphasized what a career like Degan's actually represented.

"Master Chief Degan has accomplished things and ascended to a level that leaves us in awe and we are truly going to miss his dedication," Ross said.

Ross presented Degan with a Meritorious Service Medal for his most recent successes on a seven-and-a-half-month combat deployment, and in recognition of nearly 30 years of service to his country.

Degan thanked Ross for his kind words, but wanted to reserve his deepest appreciation for those that commonly go unrecognized. Degan made sure his loved ones were not overlooked, bringing his wife, Theressa Degan, daughters, Rosanna Brown and Nikki Degan on stage. He wanted to ensure any acknowledgment he received paled in comparison to that given to those three women who remained his constant in a career of fluctuation.

Degan's career was defined through new beginnings and closings, challenges and triumphs, and overall by unquestionably stellar service on shore and at sea. It is fitting that the ceremony concluded with the career sailor ceremoniously "going ashore." In keeping with tradition, Degan requested to go ashore for the last time and was granted permission by Cmdr. David Kindley.

Degan then walked through the "sideboys" procession, manned by Kestrel senior chiefs and chiefs, as the boatswain's pipe blew. The Kestrels seemed to expect this would be the last time they saw Degan go ashore, but in driving home his point of who deserved the real honor, he returned to escort his wife down the same line. In the end, the day turned out to be as much for Degan's wife and daughters as it was for Degan- just how the model sailor wanted it.

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