Senior Chief Construction Electrician Cajan L. Nelms was born in Santa Maria, California and grew up in Lynnwood, Washington where she graduated from Lynnwood High School in 1990. She joined the navy in September 1991 and attended Basic training at Recruit Training Command, Orlando, Florida.
Upon completion of recruit training, Senior Chief Nelms attended Construction Electrician Apprentice School in Gulfport, Mississippi and was then assigned to Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Brawdy, Wales, where she was promoted to Petty Officer Third Class. Following her tour in the United Kingdom, she became the second female assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven (NMCB-7) in Gulfport Mississippi, additionally she was promoted to Second Class Petty Officer. After a successful battalion tour, she transferred to Navy Recruiting District Montgomery, Alabama. While on recruiting duty she was meritoriously promoted to Petty Officer First Class. She then transferred to Public Works Department, Sigonella, Sicily where she was selected as the CINCUSNAVEUR Leadership Award Winner, as well as the base and region Sailor of the Year, and subsequently selected to Chief Petty Officer. In 2003 she was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FORTY (NMCB 40) where she was the Bravo Company Chief and Battalion Safety Officer. In 2004, she was selected for advancement to Senior Chief Petty Officer. In 2006 she transferred to Naval Facilities Engineering and Logistics Command (NFELC) as a curriculum development specialist and safety officer. In 2009, she transferred to Fleet Activities Yokosuka and assigned as the first enlisted Assistant Public Works Officer and was selected as the Region Senior Enlisted Leader for all Seabees in the Far East area of responsibility.
She transferred to US Fleet Forces Command in 2011 as the Civil Engineering Department Leading Chief Petty Officer and was an auxiliary facilitator for U. S. Fleet Forces Command’s “Fleet Chief Petty Officer Training Course”. In February 2014, she became the first Seabee selected into the Command Senior Chief Program. Senior Chief Nelms is currently assigned as the Command Senior Chief to Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa, El Salvador.
Her academic achievements include an Associate’s Degree in Construction Technology from Coastline Community College in 2004. She is also a graduate of the Air Force Senior Non Commissioned Officer Academy in October 2011 and the Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat Course (Class 130) in May 2014. Personal awards include the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (five awards) and various unit and personal citations.