On the fantail of the USS Kidd on Sept. 5, West Feliciana Parish resident James R. Wood was promoted to master chief petty officer in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, receiving a command silver badge insignia in preparation for his new position as a command master chief.
Wood, a 17-year veteran of the Coast Guard, is now in the top 1 percent of the enlisted workforce and has held every rank from E1, seaman recruit, to his current rank of E9.
He previously served as the senior enlisted reserve adviser at Coast Guard Station New Orleans and as the Reserve Ports Waterways and Coastal Security section leader at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge.
Wood has been activated three times following 9/11 and served in numerous capacities. He will be stationed at Port Security Unit 308 in Kiln, Mississippi, while maintaining his civilian occupation as fire chief of West Feliciana Parish Fire Protection District 1 in St. Francisville.
The ceremony was conducted by Lt. Beau Braswell, CG MSU Baton Rouge, senior Reserve officer, and Master Chief Petty Officer Joe Pasqua, USCG District 8 Reserve command master chief.
Wood’s wife, Natalie, participated in the ceremony by pinning a new rank insignia, an anchor with a shield and two stars, on her husband’s collar.
Family, friends and fellow Coast Guard members attended the ceremony, as well.
Wood thanked his wife and parents for their support over the years.
“This would not have been probable without your help along the way,” Wood said. “I look forward to my new assignment and position and the challenges they’ll bring. Advancing to master chief is a dream come true.”