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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

USFFC Fleet Master Chief Retires After 29 Years

by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mary Popejoy U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs
21 September 2021
Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, center, presides over the retirement ceremony of Fleet Master Chief Rick O'Rawe on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in Norfolk, Va., September 2, 2021.
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | 210902-N-DP001-0031 NORFOLK, Va. (Sep. 2, 2021) Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, center, presides over the retirement ceremony of Fleet Master Chief Rick O'Rawe on board USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in Norfolk, Va., September 2, 2021. O'Rawe retired after 29 years of service to become the director of the Norfolk Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theodore Green)
Always asking questions and a pain in the rear-end is how retired Fleet Master Chief Jon Thompson described Rick O’Rawe.
But he wasn’t describing Rick O’Rawe, the U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) Fleet Master Chief now. He was describing Rick O’Rawe, the Navy recruit from 29 years ago.
Thompson, who served then as O’Rawe’s recruit division commander, said “I kept telling him to shut up and just do as I say. I’m glad he didn’t listen to that guidance. In retrospect, he was asking all the right questions.”
O’Rawe kept asking questions – throughout his entire career. Seeking answers not only for his own professional development, but also for the betterment of the Navy, and as a way to tackle issues for Sailors and their families.
Since his days as the Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet command master chief, he’s been known as ‘Kinetic Rick’ because of his boundless energy, full thrust, and ‘never-take-no-for-an-answer’ mentality. He charged everyone he met to ‘Keep Your Cutlass Sharp.’
During O’Rawe’s retirement ceremony earlier this month, USFFC Commander Adm. Christopher W. Grady, the event’s guest speaker and presiding officer, spoke about that energy and steadfast commitment to the “Center of the Universe”—Sailors and their families.
 “Fleet [O’Rawe] has dedicated every second of every day for Sailors throughout our Navy,” said Grady. “As my most trusted confidant throughout my time as fleet commander, he utilized his unmatched interpersonal skills and remarkable intellect to ensure we were constantly aligned with our guiding star – our commitment to providing Sailors everything they need to succeed in accomplishing their mission. You will not find a more passionate Sailor, leader, or friend than Fleet Master Chief Rick O’Rawe,” said Grady.
As USFFC’s Fleet Master Chief, O’Rawe led 13 force master chiefs, and 400 command master chiefs, in executing daily operations both at home and abroad. He served more than 118,000 active and reserve personnel on more than 120 ships and submarines and nearly 80 shore activities within the USFFC area of responsibility.
During his tour, he worked with Navy Personnel Command in shaping manning decisions that enabled deckplate leaders to manage their Sailors at the organizational level and ensure eligibility for advancement. From the Secretary of the Navy’s office to the Chief of Naval Operations staff, he helped secure funding for critical billets in the surface warfare community, increasing ship and Sailor readiness. He led teams in modernizing programs like Sailor of the Year, the command senior enlisted leader instruction, and the senior enlisted academy curriculum. He focused on self-sufficiency, sailor-education, resiliency, and toughness.
Grady said O’Rawe is a true deckplate leader who routinely maneuvered about the fleet conducting fleet unit visits, garnering ideas and uncovering the real needs of the warfighters.
“Those engagements brought visionary changes to senior enlisted leader and enlisted warfare programs, driving our teams to be operationally minded, and focused on readiness,” Grady said to O’Rawe during the ceremony. “Your supreme vision and execution at all levels has made our Navy and our nation stronger. Your achievements, and even more so, your stellar service over the past 29 years are credence to the great servant leader, and role-model you are to our Sailors.”
A true advocate for Sailors, both active and reserve, he led the way in addressing countless personnel pay issues by recognizing and engaging deficiencies in the ‘command gain’ process, which often delayed proper payment to Sailors.
During O’Rawe’s retirement remarks, he remained focused on advocating for Sailors and their families through teambuilding, trust and networking. He also reflected on his 29 years of service.  
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to wear the cloth of this great nation,” said O’Rawe. “To support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same. I thank you for your time, your patience, and all that you do each and every day. Do your utmost, fight like hell, and never give up. Keep your cutlass sharp!”
O’Rawe will continue to serve active and retired Marines, Sailors, and their families as the Director of Norfolk’s Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
Fleet Master Chief John Perryman, who previously served as the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Strategic Command, relieved O’Rawe at USFFC in August.
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