NORFOLK, Va. - Many generations of Sailors have said goodbye to their loved ones on the pier before deploying with the U.S. Navy, including Master Chief Logistics Specialist Tanya McCray. But this time as Tanya got underway to execute the Ford's second Full Ship Shock Trial, things were different - she was deploying alongside her 25-year-old daughter, Logistics Specialist Seaman Racquel McCray.
Tanya, who's served in the Navy for nearly 30 years, married her husband and had her first child Racquel while touring in Virginia, the Navy said. She and her husband, an information systems technician for the Navy, rotated sea and shore duties while raising their two daughters, eventually both rising to the rank of master chief.
“I like challenges, I thrive off them actually. It was hard being dual military. I had two daughters, so I was juggling a career with the family life, and it was hard missing holidays, birthdays and all those celebrations,” Tanya told the Navy in an interview. “When I was away from them, away from home, I just put all my time and energy into my career. I was taking care of Sailors as well. There were places I was known as the ‘Sea Mama’. I took those opportunities, since I was away from my kids, to be able to provide that mentorship tutoring to other Sailors as well.”
Nearly 25 years later, Racquel made the decision to follow in her parents' footsteps and pursue a Navy career. The Navy said she initially wanted to become an information systems technician, but was assigned to the USS George H.W. Bush after LS "A" school.
She was temporarily assigned to the Ford for at-sea training - joining her mother, who says Racquel asked to come along after seeing the first shock trial.
“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, she talked to her DLCPO and they made it happen. Next thing we know she had [temporary] orders and was walking aboard with me Monday morning.”
The deployment could be a once-in-a-lifetime moment for the two women.
“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.”