U.S. Navy Commissions First Feminine Tongan Officer > United States Navy > News-Tales

Family and friends witnessed a commissioning ceremony at Amphibious Development Battalion 1 that was stuffed with Tongan heritage and noticed McCray transition from her earlier enlisted place as a Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class to an Ensign.

“My mother and father got here to Los Angeles in 1985 from Tonga and I used to be born in Lengthy Seaside, California,” McCray said about her background. “Watching my immigrant mother and father grind each day to offer for us constructed a way of arduous work and perseverance in me, which I’ve carried by way of each problem and duty I’ve had.”

In assembly McCray, it was obvious what everybody in attendance knew: This second was inevitable. Her dedication to obligation was noticeable from childhood. McCray remembers when her father, an engineer, wished to hitch the Army however was not allowed as a result of his English was not proficient sufficient. Due to his incapacity to hitch, McCray had a want to satisfy the dream to serve and joined the Navy immediately out of highschool, so she went to her native recruiters in Euless, Texas.

“I bear in mind getting my ship to primary coaching date, which was a couple of months away,” McCray recounts. “I knew I didn’t wish to waste any time and lose sight of my objectives after I graduated, so I known as my recruiter and had my transport date modified to as quickly as potential. One Sunday proper after church, the recruiters got here to my door, and I already had my baggage packed. It took my Mother without warning, and there was loads of crying, however I’m glad I made the choice I did. It was time to begin the brand new chapter in my life.”

After McCray reported to her first ship as a younger Boatswain’s Mate aboard USS Dewey (DDG 105), she was already making historical past by commissioning the vessel and turning into a plankowner. It was quickly after this that she remembers coming throughout her first Boatswain on a neighboring ship. McCray noticed an officer directing personnel over the deckplates. She noticed the management they exuded and the respect they earned and requested who they had been. After a Sailor defined who the Boatswain was, McCray had her final profession aim.

“After that encounter, I wished to be that individual,” McCray said. “God actually paved the best way for me and gave me that power and power to get by way of each impediment. Within the Navy, there are such a lot of who led the best way for me. I’m grateful that every one of my leaders and mentors alongside the best way weren’t afraid to inform me direct and get into the nitty gritty of how to achieve success.”

McCray’s profession soared. She sought the next training and married a fellow U.S. Navy Boatswain’s Mate, who’s now additionally a commissioned Boatswain. They’ve welcomed three kids. Now, she has met her aim of turning into a Boatswain. Ensign McCray attributes her groundbreaking success to the essential recommendation supplied by her father, Alifeleti Likio, “He advised me, ‘Are you going to run with what you’ve got or are you going to give up on your self? You recognize, if you happen to give up on your self now, you’re at all times going to give up.’ I’ve carried that with me in all places I’ve gone.”

McCray has a message for different Tongan females, “Now there’s a residing testimony that that is all potential. You possibly can have a profitable household, each professionally and personally, and also you don’t should restrict your self. Solely you’ll be able to restrict your self, and you’re limitless. The door is now huge open, and you’re looking at me, and I’m taking a look at you and we’re each actual. We will all make it. Don’t ever entertain negativity and carry grace wherever you go.”

‘Fui’ want to dedicate her story to her late father, Alifeleti Likio, from Kolomotu’a, for the love and steering he supplied at all times.