Navy Master Chief Tonya McCray and her daughter Racquel McCray, 25, a Navy neophyte landed an opportunity of a lifetime last month to serve on the same ship, making the duo super proud!
The mother and daughter boarded the USS Gerald R. Ford to enable Racquel undergo training in the same specialty just like her mom 30 years ago.
Racquel after turning 18 had initially wanted to follow her father’s specialty as a Navy systems technician but eventually decided to walk in her mother’s footsteps in logistics instead after joining in May. So she reached out to authority to be assigned to her mother’s ship.
Talking about the exciting experience, mom Tonya says even though she was in the Navy, she never pushed Racquel to follow in her footsteps.
“I chose to join because I watched my parents for my entire life,” Racquel told “Good Morning America.” “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.”
When Racquel first discussed the idea with her parents, they “didn’t believe her or take her seriously,” Tonya said. Once she realized how serious Racquel was about enlisting in the Navy and pursuing the logistics speciality, though, she warmed up to the idea.
“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.”
Soon after enlisting, Racquel realized that she wanted to work alongside her mother, Tonya said.
“I shared some pictures with her and I talked about the experience, and she told me that was why she wanted to join the military — to be able to participate in things like that,” Tonya explained. “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 McCray describes the experience as “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 said.
Raquel found their time on ship valuable and expressed disappointment about not having more time with her mother. She affirms she made the right decision in choosing her specialty.
“It was a great experience for me, even though it only lasted four weeks,” Racquel said. “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.”
“It’s pretty cool walking with her. Everyone says, ‘Good morning Master Chief’, and she greets them and I’m just smiling the whole way. I feel like a proud daughter,” Racquel said.