Meet the 'Proud' Mother and Daughter Who Got to Serve in the Navy on the Same Ship Together
A mother-daughter duo has taken their bond to the next level as they both serve in the Navy on the same ship with the same specialty.
Master Chief Logistics Specialist Tonya McCray recently got the chance of a lifetime when her daughter, Logistics Specialist Seaman Racquel McCray, spent four weeks training aboard her ship, the USS Gerald R. Ford, according to Good Morning America.
It was a special moment that had been years in the making, ever since Racquel, 25, decided to follow in her mother's footsteps, GMA reported.
"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."
"I was a proud mother," added Tonya. "It just felt great to be able to share that experience with her, and also, just to see her hard work."
Growing up with two parents enlisted in the Navy, Racquel said she decided to also join the service when she turned 18, according to GMA.
"I chose to join because I watched my parents for my entire life," Racquel 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."
"It's not all I know, but from growing up around it, it was something I could see myself doing," Racquel continued in a Navy press release. "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]."
At first, Racquel just planned to pursue the same service branch and logistics specialty as Tonya, but later realized she might be able to serve on her mom's ship too, GMA reported.
After reaching out to her chain of command, Racquel was officially assigned to her mom's ship, according to the outlet.
And though Racquel was always passionate about her decision to join the Navy, Tonya admitted to GMA that she and her husband initially "didn't believe" their daughter "or take her seriously."
Tonya's perspective ultimately changed after speaking more with Racquel, and her chain of command, according to the outlet.
"It took a while for her to get everything situated to come in, but that was my baby and I was so proud," Tonya explained to GMA. "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."
"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," she went on.
"Next thing we know she had [temporary] orders and was walking aboard with me Monday morning," Tonya, who has served nearly 30 years in the Navy, added in the press release.
During the four-week period that they were on the same ship, the mother-daughter duo told GMA that they had an incredibly memorable experience.
"I was able to share what I did with my daughter every day," Tonya explained to the outlet. "She saw what respect that someone of my pay grade gets on a day to day [and] how they look up to me."
"It's pretty cool walking with her," Racquel noted in the press release. "Everyone says, 'Good morning, master chief,' and she greets them and I'm just smiling the whole way. I feel like a proud daughter."
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Looking ahead, Tonya said she has high "expectations" for her daughter, and hopes her career in the Navy will be long and prosperous.
"Every mother and daughter has their moments," Tonya explained in the release. "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," she continued. "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."
"This could be her last underway and it's my first. For us to be able to spend it together, it's awesome," Racquel added in the release. "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."