Master Chief Logistics Specialist Tonya McCray recently got the rare chance to serve side by side with her daughter on board the Navy’s USS Gerald R. Ford. Tonya’s daughter, Logistics Specialist Seaman Racquel McCray, spent four weeks training aboard the ship, where the two formed an even closer bond, according to Good Morning America (GMA).
“It was a great experience for me, even though it only lasted four weeks,” Racquel told the outlet. “I would have liked for it to be a little bit longer, but it was really nice to be able to see the benefits of all of [my mom’s] hard work, how people looked up to her and respected her.”
Growing up with two parents enlisted in the Navy, Racquel said she decided to follow in their footsteps when she turned 18, according to GMA.
“I chose to join because I watched my parents for my entire life,” Racquel, now 25, told the outlet. “They both served, so watching them every day go to work made me actually want to follow in their footsteps, with how successful they were and what they were able to provide for my sister and I.”
Tonya did not take her daughter seriously when she informed her that she wanted to enlist in the Navy. She later paid attention after realizing how passionate Racquel was about her decision. “I was a proud mother,” Tonya said. “It took a while for her to get everything situated to come in, but that was my baby and I was so proud.”
After joining the Navy in May, Racquel chose to pursue the same logistics specialty as her mother. “I wanted to go IT [information systems technician], my dad was an IT. I wasn’t offered IT but LS [logistics specialist] was the option they gave me, and I knew I wanted to do something my parents had [done],” Racquel said in a Navy press release.
Having made the decision to pursue the same logistics specialty as her mom, Racquel also realized that she could work alongside her mother on the same ship. So, she contacted her chain of command to be assigned to her mother’s ship.
“I talked to my chain of command, she talked to her chain of command and we thought it could be used as a training opportunity,” Tonya, who has served almost 30 years in the Navy, said. “Next thing we know she had [temporary] orders and was walking aboard with me Monday morning,” Tonya added in the Navy press release.
The mother-daughter duo said their four-week period working on the same ship was “great”.
“I was able to share what I did with my daughter every day. She saw what respect that someone of my pay grade gets on a day to day, how they look up to me, and it just felt great to be able to share that experience with her, and also, just to see her hard work,” Tonya told GMA.
Racquel, in the Navy press release, said it was “pretty cool” walking with her mother.
“Everyone says, ‘Good morning, master chief,’ and she greets them and I’m just smiling the whole way. I feel like a proud daughter,” she said.