By Mariah Felipe, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs
Force Master Chief (FORCM) (FMF/SW/AW) Terry J. Prince, director of the Hospital Corps, officially assumed the role as Navy Medicine’s force master chief in a change-of-charge ceremony September 25.
The force master chief of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) is the Navy surgeon general’s senior enlisted advisor. He or she is also dual-hatted as the director of the Hospital Corps, the Navy’s largest enlisted rating and only enlisted corps.
Prior to the change-of-charge, the BUMED public affairs office met with FORCM Prince to learn more about his career.
Q: What influenced your decision to join Navy Medicine?
I originally wanted to join the Army or the Air Force because I wanted to fly helicopters. The Army recruiter said I was too tall [FORCM Prince is 6’8”], so I went to the Air Force office. I knocked on the door but no one answered. The Navy recruiter saw me down the hall and said “Shipmate, they’re not here today,” and I ended up joining the Navy from there. I also had an uncle in the Marine Corps who told me I should join the Navy, and a neighbor who was in the Navy, so I had a lot of exposure to Navy that way as well.
Q: When did you know joining Navy Medicine was the right decision for you?
Whether it was a field training exercise or an operation with the fleet marine force, as a young Sailor I knew immediately this was the right job for me.
Q: Who has influenced your career in Navy Medicine?
My family and my faith influenced my career first and foremost. My father was a huge inspiration to my work ethic. He worked three jobs while I was growing up. It makes me feel bad for only having one job, although it is the best job in the Navy.
I’ve also always made a point to develop relationships with other force master chiefs because they represent the best of the best in my opinion. Throughout my career, I’ve spent hours with previous force master chiefs talking about my future.
Q: What is a mantra that you live by?
My mantra is “heart, mind, and strength.”
The heart is first and most important. It only takes five seconds to know if someone’s heart is dedicated to what they’re doing. As a leader I can build someone’s mind and help them develop their strength, but if their heart is not in it, there is nothing I can do.
FORCM Prince closed the interview by saying, “I am humbled and honored at the opportunity to serve as Navy Medicine’s force master chief and director of the Hospital Corps. Without the support of my family this would be impossible.”