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NEWS | Sept. 9, 2020

West Valley City Native Develops Senior Enlisted Professionals

NEWPORT, RI — A 1995 graduate of Granger High School and West Valley City, Utah native, helps develop military professionals at the Navy’s only education institution dedicated to senior enlisted personnel.

Senior Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Phil Rhodes, one of eight Reserve faculty advisors assigned to the Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA), facilitates at least two in-residence classes annually and supports the distance learning portions of the SEA curriculum.

Every master and senior chief petty officer assigned to the SEA’s Navy Reserve Unit is screened in the same manner as their active-duty counterparts with final approval granted by the SEA director.

“Our Reserve unit plays an important role in our mission success,” said Command Master Chief Jason Avin, SEA director. “At the beginning of 2019, the SEA experienced a high turnover and we relied heavily on our Reserve team to augment our active-duty staff. More recently, our Navy Reserve unit is fully engaged in the delivery of our distance learning phase during COVID 19.” 

Rhodes, who served on active duty in the Navy from 1996-2000, joined the Navy Reserve in 2007 after a brief period in the Air Force Reserve. On the civilian side, he is a Department of the Air Force lead priority requirements specialist for the operations center at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex in Utah.

“I initially joined the Navy to learn a trade, start a career and see the world; the Navy afforded me all three,” said Rhodes. “I started a civilian career as a mechanic using the skills I learned onboard USS Sacramento (AOE 1), and I used the education benefits to earn a bachelor’s degree in emergency services management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 2018.” 

As a SEA faculty advisor, Rhodes hopes to give back to the Navy that has given him so much.

“During my time in the Navy, I have had amazing mentors who helped me become a better Sailor, father, husband, friend and coworker,” said Rhodes. “I applied at SEA because I sincerely hope that I can pass along to other senior leaders the lessons that have been shared with me.”  

Reserve faculty advisors at SEA dedicate 8 to 12 hours each week towards student support, essay grading and various class-related administration. Additionally, like their active-duty counterparts, they often provide support after “normal working hours” as many SEA students are stationed overseas. 

“Being a Reserve faculty advisor can be exceptionally challenging -- it is not a one weekend a month and two weeks a year job, but it is also extremely rewarding,” said Rhodes. “This position affords the opportunity to help other senior leaders achieve a deeper understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, which allows them to become better leaders for their Sailors.”

According to Rhodes, the Navy values educated leaders and being a SEA faculty advisor has allowed him to grow personally and professionally.

“The number one lesson I have to take away as a SEA faculty advisor is that the Navy’s diversity is its greatest asset,” said Rhodes. “In every class, I feel like I end up learning as much as the senior leaders in the course. I am amazed every day by their dedication to their Sailors, their depth of knowledge and their ability to bring their wide ranging experience to bear to solve any problem.”

Rhodes is the son of the late Scott Rhodes and Kate Maxwell-Stephens, who resides in West Jordon, Utah.

The SEA is a leader development program for active and reserve senior enlisted leaders from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard, as well as from our international service partners, for increased leadership and career advancement. SEA focuses on management, leadership, national security, and physical fitness.

For additional information on the SEA, visit or email