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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raymond Maddocks, Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command Public Affairs
When Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Ivan Delgado joined the Navy Reserve in July, 2000, he was primarily looking for something supplementary to his full-time job, offering him a little extra income and a retirement plan. He had no idea the decision would bring him so much more. Looking back at his 21-year Reserve career, the Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, native recalls spending eleven of those years on active duty supporting missions all over the world.
“I really like what I do,” said Delgado.
However, it wasn’t always that way. After spending three years in the Army during the late 1980s, Delgado spent 12 years working corporate customer service before joining the Reserve as an undesignated Seaman. Deciding to strike for the same rate as his mentor, Storekeeper 1st Class Jerry Castro, Delgado spent roughly a year performing on-the-job training before passing the advancement exam to become a storekeeper third class.
Soon after Delgado’s rating and advancement, the 9/11 terror attacks rocked the soul of the nation. Because of his prior experience in the Army, the Navy mobilized Delgado to work security at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. It was an environment of heightened vigilance, and during the assignment, Delgado immersed himself in a security-professional’s mindset.
“We had to take a two-week course before we started working,” Delgado said. “Even after I’d finished that course, I would go back on my days off and help out with the training. In the training scenarios, I would play the ‘bad guy’ or whatever they needed.”
During Delgado’s time at the security school, the course’s instructors encouraged him to put in a package to cross rate from storekeeper to master-at-arms. He did. After submitting a package and meeting with the community manager, he went on to earn his master-at-arms qualification badge in December, 2002.
Since becoming a master-at-arms, Delgado has mobilized, performed Active Duty Special Work (ADSW) orders, or otherwise been recalled to active duty 10 separate times. Along the way, he graduated from Navy Law Enforcement Special School, earned three Navy Enlisted Classifications (NECs) and now holds many security qualifications including customs border-clearance agent and basic Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT).
Delgado said the support he receives from his wife, two children and grandson has allowed him to take an active role in stepping up to the plate for many different mission sets.
“That strong family support starts with my wife, Yvette," said Delgado. "It's only because I have such a supportive family that I'm able to raise my hand and volunteer."
Delgado described his favorite time spent on this job as being out on the shooting range. At his last command, Reserve Component Command Fort Worth, he was often called upon as a range instructor to help Sailors complete various small-arms qualification courses.
“If I was to be out on the range every day teaching people how to shoot and qualifying folks, I’d be happy,” said Delgado. “When I was at Fort Worth, the base range would call when they needed help and I’d be able to go help out.”
Delgado said his Navy Reserve experience has imbued him with a deep and lasting sense of pride, capability, vigilance and readiness — qualities he displays in both his military and civilian lives.
“The most rewarding thing is being able to wear this uniform,” said Delgado. “As a Navy Reservist, I don’t physically wear the uniform every day, but I always carry myself in that manner. That’s one of the things I’ve learned over the last 21 years.”