Story by Robin Holland on 04/02/2019Chief Electrician's Mate Les Bennett, Training Support Center Hampton Roads (TSCHR) Student Management Norfolk Site Leading Chief Petty Officer retired concluding 20 years of naval service, March 29th.
Bennett retired during a ceremony held at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Hangar, Naval Air Station Oceana, attended by numerous shipmates, friends and family.
"We are here to celebrate 20 years of faithful and honorable service of EMC Les Bennett and also the dedicated support and service of his wife children and extended family. Without them, he could have not have performed so well in his sea-going career," said Captain Matthew Rick, TSCHR, Commanding Officer.
Bennett was born in St. Louis, MO. He graduated from Friendly High School located in Fort Washington, MD, June 14,1999 and enlisted in the Navy on June 28, 1999.
Upon completion of recruit training, he attended undesignated Seaman School at Naval Training Center, Great Lakes. In October 1999, he reported to Assault Craft Unit One, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. During his five year tour he advanced to Electricians Mate 3rd Class Petty Officer and earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare Qualification while completing two Western Pacific deployments onboard the USS Cleveland (LPD 7) 2001 and the USS Tarawa (LHA 1) 2003.
In June 2004, he transferred to the USS Duluth (LPD 6) homeported in San Diego, CA. Where he enhanced his skills as an electrician, qualified as Sound & Security, Emergency Diesel watch and he completed one Western Pacific deployment (2004-2005).
In June 2005, he transferred to shore duty, ARCO ARDM 5, a dry dock for submarines located at Naval Base Point Loma. During his tour he qualified as Duty Engineer and advanced to the rank of 2nd Class Petty Officer.
In July of 2007, he reported to Weapons Elevator "C" School at Naval Training Center, Great Lakes. After graduating from Weapons Elevator "C" School in August, he reported onboard the USS Nimitz (CVN- 68). During his five year tour he advanced to Electricians Mate 1st Class Petty Officer and qualified as Weapons Duty Officer, Cargo Weapons Elevator Operator, Safety and Supervisor. Additionally, he earned his Enlisted Aviation Warfare Qualification while completing two Western Pacific deployments.
In December of 2012, Petty Officer Bennett reported to his second shore duty, Naval Supply Systems (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center San Diego, CA. While stationed at NAVSUP, he completed his Associate's Degree in Applied Technology & Science and his Bachelor's Degree in Workforce Education and Development. He was the Senior Sailor of the Quarter for the Second Quarter in 2013. In 2014, he was selected to the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
In April of 2016, EMC Bennett reported to TSCHR where he served as the Leading Chief Petty Officer, Student Management Office, Norfolk site. While stationed at TSCHR, he completed his Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership. EMC Bennett is a graduate of the Senior Enlisted Academy.
He has been married for over 13 years to Janeil and they have three children, Unique, Nevaeh and Jordan.
"I've had the distinct pleasure of knowing Les for the last 12 years, Les was more than just a supervisor, he was a brother, a mentor, a sounding board, a teacher and even a friend to all of his Sailors," said Ensign C.J. Barksdale who was stationed with Bennett onboard the USS Nimitz (CV-68) and was the honorary guest speaker.
"I would like to thank my beautiful family for being part of this journey. Through all the deployments, TADs and long hours, they are the main reason why I'm able to stand before you today, said Bennett. "My mom, sister and her family, and my wife's family, for all the love and support they have given us and to my wife for holding down the fort while I was away. For those of you who are married or have a significant other, make sure you cherish and appreciate them. The job of taking care of home while we're away is not an easy one." said Bennett.
Bennett went on to thank his brothers and sisters in the Chief's Mess, Mr. Lynwood Hardy, Norfolk Student Site Manager, and Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Priscilla Farnsworth, Master of Ceremonies.
"I will miss Chief Bennett because no matter what was going on in his day, he had a positive outlook and had a smile on his face. It is Sailors like him that keep me energized and Sailors like him that give our ships, submarines, and aircraft life, personality and character," said Rick.