Rick Trent was born on June 23, 1944, in Coronado, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard on April 23, 1963, and was trained as an Avionics Technician. His first assignment was as an HU-16E Albatross radioman at CGAS Salem, Massachusetts, from October 1964 to June 1965, followed by service as an HU-16E radioman-navigator at Coast Guard Air Detachment Bermuda from June 1965 to June 1966. Petty Officer Trent's next assignment was to Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama, where he served as an HU-16E radioman-navigator, HH-52A Seaguard hoist operator, and HH-3F Pelican radioman-navigator from July 1966 to July 1971. He served as an HH-52A hoist operator and HC-130B Hercules radioman-navigator at CGAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, from July 1971 to March 1978, and then served as a radioman-navigator on HC-130B/H and HH-3F aircraft at CGAS Clearwater, Florida, from March 1978 to June 1984. Master Chief Trent returned to Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama, in June 1984, and served as Command Enlisted Advisor until June 1992, when he transferred to Coast Guard Pacific Area Alameda, California, as Area Command Enlisted Advisor from June 1992 to May 1994. His final assignment was as Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., from May 1994 until his retirement from the Coast Guard on July 1, 1998.
His Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
Master Chief Petty Officer TRENT is cited for exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a position of great responsibility as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard from July 1994 to May 1998, culminating 35 years of selfless service to the Nation. His superior insights on leadership, command relationships and management effectiveness made him a highly valued advisor to the Commandant of the Coast Guard as well as the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and unit commands throughout the Coast Guard. Master Chief TRENT maintained an ongoing dialogue with Coast Guard enlisted personnel by visiting over 300 units throughout the Service. He maximized the use of technology by creating a web site as a means to instantaneously update the fleet on the latest changes in Coast Guard policy. He provided far reaching insight as a member of numerous guidance and senior management teams and as an advisor to the Navy Mutual Aid Association, USO World Board of Governors and the Armed Services YMCA. Master Chief Trent significantly improved the Chief's Call to initiation program by providing policy guidance and standardizing the way initiations are conducted Coast Guard wide. He also enhanced the Enlisted Person of the Year program. Promoting Team Coast Guard, Master Chief TRENT was a driving force in establishing a Leadership Center of Excellence at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He has truly been a superb ambassador for the Coast Guard and its enlisted personnel throughout his long and distinguished career. He is, the most outstanding "leader" in our enlisted corps. Master Chief Petty Officer TRENT's leadership, dedication, and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.