Serving in the Navy runs in the family for the McCrays.
Master Chief Logistics Specialist Tanya McCray has been in the Navy almost 30 years, and is also married to another master chief in the Navy. Now, their daughter, Logistic Specialist Seaman Racquel McCray, 25, is following suit and has the opportunity to be temporarily assigned to the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford with her mother.
Tanya is the Ford’s supply department leading chief petty officer, while Racquel is assigned to the aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush, which is currently undergoing a maintenance availability in Norfolk, Virginia.
“So I joined because it was something I wanted to do since I was 18, seeing both my parents doing it every day. It’s not all I know, but from growing up around it, it was something I could see myself doing,” Racquel said in a Navy news release. “I wanted to go IT, my dad was an IT. I wasn’t offered IT but LS was the option they gave me, and I knew I wanted to do something my parents had [done].”
When Racquel saw the Ford’s in-water shock trial on July 16, she was fascinated and wanted to somehow be involved, according to the news release.
“She actually asked me to come on the ship. She saw the pictures from shock one and thought it was so cool she wanted to do that. She joined the Navy to get those experiences,” Tanya said. “She said she wished she could get underway.”
So Tanya said Racquel discussed the matter with her leadership, and “they made it happen.”
“Next thing we know she had [temporary] orders and was walking aboard with me Monday morning,” Tanya said.
Racquel says that the experience so far has been very rewarding, and noted she feels like a “proud daughter” walking with her mother hearing people address her as master chief.
“It’s great, this could be her last underway and it’s my first. For us to be able to spend it together, it’s awesome,” Racquel said. “She’s kind of bringing me in and I appreciate that a lot. I hope I can fill her shoes, as I hope to make it a 20 year career.”
Tanya said it was challenging being a dual-military family, and she and her spouse alternated between sea and shore duties. But she said she “thrive[s]” off of challenges, and hopes her daughter has an even more successful career in the service than she has had.
“Every mother and daughter has their moments,” Tanya said. “We love each other, but I hold her to certain expectations and I expect her to follow those, but that’s only because I love her and want the best for her. I want her to succeed in her personal life and her career. She has huge shoes to fill, and I remind her of that. I want her to be better than me; I want her to set her goals higher than mine were. I know she can do it.”
The Ford has completed two of three of its in-water shock trials so far. The tests are designed to guarantee all major ship systems were not damaged during the blast, and that the ship can manage a blow in combat.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Logistic Specialist Seaman Racquel McCray serves aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush.