Many rates across the fleet have reputations and stereotypes diminishing the wide array of tasks and services relating to their field. One such rate is Master-at-Arms (MA), a rate frequently referred to as Navy cop or military guard. In fact, this rate encompasses much more than writing traffic tickets or checking ID cards at the gate.
MA3 Daniel Mullen, from Walterboro, South Carolina, takes pride in being able to do many different tasks as an MA aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville.
“I enjoy being an MA,” said Mullen. “The job diversity made me want to work in this rate.”
With shifts beginning as early as 4 a.m., Mullen arrives and is issued his gear, weapon, and vehicle on patrol days. The following 10 hours of his shift can have him going from neighborhood patrols to physical security. A typical work week for Mullen is five consecutive days of 10-hour shifts, followed by four days off.
“Inside the MA rate, there are canine units, personnel protection, law enforcement, physical security, harbor security patrol boats, building checks, gate guard, and base patrol,” said Mullen.
For Mullen, the most stressful part of the job is going from a slow workload to a barrage of incidents in a short period of time and assisting frustrated drivers at the entry control points. Ultimately, these intermittent frustrations disappear and leave a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.
“I feel like what we do here makes a difference,” said Mullen. “We create awareness and police presence, and keep everything and everyone safe.”
For Mullen, serving in the Navy is part of his family history.
“My father previously served in the Navy, and I wanted to serve my country as nearly everyone in my family has,” he said.
Mullen also says he enjoys being an MA, but is also trying to enter Special Warfare programs in the future. Aside of his work at NAS Jacksonville, Mullen enjoys hiking, swimming, kayaking, and other outdoor events.
Mullen feels there are great beneficial aspects to his work.
“A lot of what we do is teach people and try to be instructive, because on base there are a lot of rules that people might be unaware of,” he said.