Fleet Master Chief James Herdel currently serves as the 15th Command Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, Florida and is the 32nd Master Blaster Of The Navy.
FLTCM Herdel grew up in Morganfield, Kentucky. He enlisted in the United States Navy in June 1989 and subsequently completed Electricians Mate "A" school. He attended both Navy Scuba Diver training and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Apprentice School in Florida in June 1990. In 1993, FLTCM attended Basic EOD Technician School in Indian Head, Maryland.
FLTCM Herdel has multiple operational tours throughout his career to include five separate tours at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 2 in Virginia Beach, VA covering numerous deployments with the U.S. Army 1st Battalion 28th Infantry Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Seal Team 8; EODMU 5 in Agana, Guam serving on the first Command Special Operations Detachment; EODMU 6 in Virginia Beach where he deployed as the Operations Master Chief for Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1 and 52.3 Bahrain. He then deployed as the Command Master Chief (CMC) of CTG 56.1 and 52.3. While with EODMU2 as the CMC of CTG 56.1 and 52.3, they earned first Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) Battle "E" commendation awarded to the command.
FLTCM Herdel has completed the following shore tours: Air Operations Department Head at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 2, Ft. Story, Virginia; Military Freefall Instructor (MFFI-578) in Yuma, Arizona; and Expeditionary Warfighting Development Center. In October 2016, the Commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) selected FLTCM Herdel to become their Force Master Chief. Most recently, U.S. Central Command selected him as the first United States Navy Master Chief named as the United States Central Command Senior Enlisted Leader.
FLTCM Herdel has completed the following significant military courses: Joint Special Operations University Summit Course, Keystone Course, Naval Postgraduate School Senior Leader Seminar, Executive Leadership Symposium, Naval War College Senior Enlisted Academy, and Command Leadership School. FLTCM Herdel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from American Military University.
FLTCM Herdel is a qualified Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and Freefall Naval Parachutist. His significant awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (5), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (9), and Army Achievement Medal. Additionally, he is authorized to wear the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Gold Badge.