Russell "Russ" Jeter is the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON).
He is portrayed by Charles Parnell.
At some point before he joined the crew of the USS Nathan James, he accidentally killed his wife and daughters in a car accident.
Russ enlisted in the Navy at least 20 years (but less than 24 years) before the start of the Red Flu pandemic (as evidenced by the 5 service stripes he wears on his dress uniform, each indicating 4 years of service.)
Russ's current military rate is Command Master Chief Petty Officer (paygrade E-9), and as such is the highest enlisted sailor on the Nathan James, serving as an advisor to the captain and the liaison between the enlisted personnel and their commanding officer.
As Jeter has been seen assisting the engineers on several occasions, it is possible that his prior Navy rate before becoming Command Master Chief was some type of engineering rate.
At the beginning of the series, he serve as the USS Nathan James' Command Master Chief and occasionally acts as the ship's spiritual advisor, due to his strong religious faith.
During the timeframe of Season 5, now-MCPON Jeter states that he has been in the Navy for "just north of 30 years." This helps to establish a timeline for the events of The Last Ship: since Jeter had somewhere between 20-23 years of service in Season 1, a minimum of 7 years have passed between the beginning of the Red Flu pandemic in the Pilot episode, and the events of Season 5.
Events of The Last ShipEdit
Russ volunteers to test the vaccine. Whilst under quarantine, he becomes delusional and has visions about his daughters. (“Trials”)
Season 5 Edit
In the series finale, MCPON Jeter is one of the few still-living characters with whom Tom had served who appears in his hallucination as he is drowning, after Nathan James sinks ramming Gustavo's Battleship in order to end the war with Gran Colombia. Tom views, and then is part of, an award ceremony for him, which also serves as a change of command ceremony for Nathan James. When President Michener asks Tom if he is ready to be relieved (as commanding officer,) Tom hesitates and wonders aloud who he is passing responsibility onto. After many of the sailors sitting in the audience for the ceremony (who are also Tom's close friends and allies,) stand and declare that they have the watch, Tom is finally able to achieve peace and be able to mentally and emotionally let go of both Nathan James, and of the burdens he has carried around since the plague began, secure in the knowledge that others will always be there.
Ultimately, Tom decides to keep fighting, swim to the surface, and live.
Awards and DecorationsEdit
The following are the medals and service awards fictionally worn by Jeter.