YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS)— The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) bid farewell to Chief Warrant Officer Four Stephen E. Wyrick Dec. 8, after retiring from 30 years of Naval service.
As a warrant officer, Wyrick is a technical expert in food services. “From panning the bacon, to cooking the bacon, to ordering the bacon, I’ve been living the dream for 30 years,” said Wyrick. He enlisted January 1987 as an E-1 and has worked in food services preparing, serving and supplying several thousands of meals to Sailors for the entirety of his career.
“It feels surreal to look back on my time and reflect on how lucky I have been,” said Wyrick. “I cannot attribute my success to just one person. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had so many great mentors at every stage and tour during my career.”
Just like the mentors who supported him throughout his career, he has become a person of influence for the Sailors surrounding him.
“He’s been more than a mentor to me,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Ethan Dowling. “He is extremely approachable, shares his knowledge with everyone and makes us motivated to stay in for 30 years as well.”
Wyrick has served aboard the USS America (CV 66), USS Arleigh Burke (CG 56), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and his final ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Because of his enlisted background, Wyrick has been able to lead his Sailors based off his own experiences.
“During my time serving with Stephen, I was able to see his incredible communication and articulation,” said guest speaker, Carrier Strike Group Five/ Task Force Seven Zero Command Master Chief Jason M. Haka. “He has the ability to communicate effectively with all ranks and ages, all the way from seaman recruit to a three-star admiral.
Wyrick was accepted into the Chief Warrant Officer Program after 19 years of enlisted service. “It was absolutely a dream for me to become a Warrant Officer,” said Wyrick. “It was a goal of mine from the start, but it took 19 years of hard work to achieve.”
Traditionally, Sailors retire from a shore command after 20 years. Wyrick’s retirement was unique in that it was at a sea command and he left the Navy after 30 years.
In those 30 years, Wyrick put in many long hours of dedicated service. He earned the Meritorious Service Medal, five Navy Commendation Medals, and six Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He is also qualified Surface Warfare Supply Corps Officer and Naval Aviation Supply Officer.