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10-year CMC picked for top fleet enlisted post

If you’re wondering what it takes to become a fleet master chief, you might want to take a look at the career of the newly named Fleet Forces Command Fleet Master Chief selectee, Command Master Chief Richard P. O’Rawe.

O’Rawe was named May 9 as the successor to outgoing Fleet Master Chief Paul Kingsbury, who is set to retire. O’Rawe will take over the job in August, according to an all-fleet message sent by new Fleet Forces commander Adm. Chris Grady.

“O'Rawe is an outstanding addition to the USFFC team, bringing more than 25 years of naval service and a decade of command master chief experience,” Grady wrote in the message. “Looking forward to you joining our team!”

Adm. Chris Grady took command of U.S. Fleet Forces Command in a ceremony May 4, 2018, onboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush in Norfolk, Va. (Mark D. Faram/Staff)
New Fleet Forces boss: Readiness is our business

Promising to maintain readiness levels set by his predecessor, Adm. Chris Grady took the helm of U.S. Fleet Forces Command in a May 4 ceremony onboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush in Norfolk

O’Rawe, who was born in Long Island, New York, and grew up in Florida, enlisted in the Navy in October 1992.

While at boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, some of his mentors included future fleet master chiefs.

One of O’Rawe’s company commanders, as they were called then, was then Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Jon Thompson, who would eventually rise to serve as the fleet master chief at Fleet Forces Command from 2004 through 2006.

“What I remember about recruit O’Rawe was that that he was always asking questions,” the now retired Thompson told Navy Times May 7.

“At the time I felt he was a pain in my ass, but in retrospect, he was asking all the right questions,” Thompson said. “I kept telling him to shut up and just do as I say. I’m glad he didn’t listen to that guidance.”

Initally, O’Rawe was trained as an engineman. His first two tours were onboard the frigate Aubrey Fitch and the coastal patrol vessel Shamal.

Once eligible for shore duty after serving five years at sea, O’Rawe volunteered to return to Great Lakes, serving first as a recruit division commander and later as an instructor at Recruit Division Commander School.

During this first return tour at Great Lakes, he would brush shoulders with two more future fleet master chiefs.

In 1999, the top enlisted sailor at Recruit Training Command was then-Command Master Chief Mike McCalip, who would go on to finish his career as the first fleet master chief to work for the chief of naval personnel before retiring.

“He was a top performer at RTC and I was privileged to be his CMC,” McCalip said of O’Rawe.

“When he moved over to [Recruit Division Commander] School, his leading chief was then-Senior Chief Aviation Maintenance Administrationman April Beldo.”

Beldo, McCalip noted, would also serve as fleet master chief to the chief of naval personnel, retiring last year.

“Interesting to see the direct leadership he had to work with during his career — I’m sure there are many, many more,” McCalip said. “I remember him well, I learned a lot from him too.”

O’Rawe would return to Great Lakes again after another sea tour, this time on the frigate Halyburton. During this stint, he would be selected as a command master chief.

Following the senior enlisted academy, O’Rawe served as the command master chief of the guided-missile destroyer Barry.

Over the course of the past decade as a command master chief, O’Rawe has completed four total CMC tours, the latest as the top enlisted sailor for the 6th Fleet staff.

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