Boyd retires from Navy after 30-year career
After 30 years of service in the U.S. Navy, Fallon’s command master chief is retiring in his home state of Nevada, not too far from the base’s main gate.
Command Master Chief Robert Boyd arrived in the Lahontan Valley in late 2015 to become the top enlisted sailor at Naval Air Station Fallon. The 1984 Lowry (Winnemucca) High School graduate grew up two hours from Fallon before he entered the service, a career that spanned more than 25 years as a mariner. He attended Naval Submarine School to become a fire control technician, and after graduation, he was assigned to the USS Topeka, a Los Angeles class of submarine.
“Amazingly quick … the whole 30 years,” he said with a laugh of his military service when he first enlisted as a young 18-year-old.
NAS Fallon conducted a retirement ceremony in Hangar 7 Friday morning for Boyd and awarded him the Meritorious Service Medal, 3rd award.
“It was a nice ceremony …quaint, very enjoyable,” said Capt. David Halloran, commanding officer of NAS Fallon.
Boyd’s replacement will arrive in mid-July.
Boyd, a true Nevada native who loves the feel of a small town and outdoor activities associated with the high desert, brought a different perspective to NAS Fallon.
“I was out of the submarine force and what we do at the base is cater to the warfighter,” he said. “So we provide a service to the warfighter to certify and qualify them and then trained them up to go to a carrier air group.”
It is because of the knowledge of Nevada that brought kudos from Halloran, who arrived in Fallon soon after Boyd.
“In all honesty, he was a Nevada boy coming home,” Halloran said. “Most coming to Fallon are looking for orders, but master chief came back here to develop his roots.”
The Nevada-born sailor soon became immersed with learning more about aviation and training at NAS Fallon. He jumped out of a Search and Rescue helicopter into Lahontan Reservoir.
“I got to be with aviation and seeing what they did and how professional they are,” Boyd said. “I never flew in a helicopter until I got here. That was a great experience.”
Additionally, Boyd said he was able to see the SEALs train on their range southwest of Fallon.
Although he spent most of his career aboard submarines, he said directing sailors as a command master chief is a leadership trait learned anywhere in the Navy.
“It was no big deal,” Halloran said. “He was a professional in the Navy, and he did his job well. Coming from the submarine to command master chief was a seamless transition.”
Yet, Halloran will miss the friendly bantering as each man promoted either aviators or submariners in their light-hearted jokes.
When Boyd arrived in Fallon, he became active with the sailors he oversees and worked closely with the command. He also maintained the high degree of volunteerism among the enlisted sailors, both with serving dinners at the twice-a-week Daily Bread program, preparing and delivering holiday meals for senior citizens on Thanksgiving and Christmas, helping with the Toys for Tots collection or mobilizing a force of sailors to assist with sandbagging operations during the spring 2017 flood mitigation efforts.
“We did a good job with the food and sandbags,” he said. “We filled more than 20,000 sandbags and also placed sandbags at many houses for the people who couldn’t do it.”
Boyd said NAS Fallon assisted local and state governments to release water south of the V-line canal onto a Navy bombing range and then divert water east to culverts under U.S. Highway 95 south of Fallon. The water flowed east to Carson Lake and then continued to Stillwater National Refuge and the Carson Sink. Boyd said he gave Halloran, the base commander, an additional perspective of water being channeled through the desert.
“He was more knowledgeable of the Sheckler Reservoir area —partly personal since he lived near there — and he had a basic knowledge of the area that was beneficial to us,” Halloran added.
When Boyd arrive at Fallon, he said the air station had already established a good volunteerism program. Not only do sailors help with the food programs but they also coach youth sports and volunteer their time to help with Bark in the Park or the annual Fallon Cantaloupe Festival.
For the most part, he said the base and city work well together, and the NAS Fallon maintains a great foundation with their civilian counterparts in the community.
After Boyd and his wife, Carey (Avery), moved to Fallon, they knew the Lahontan Valley was their final destination before he retired. Carey also enjoyed the return to Nevada having lived in both Carson City and Winnemucca. He and his high-school sweetheart built a house near Carey’s father and stepmother, who moved to Fallon almost 18 years ago. In addition to his duties with the Navy, Boyd also stepped in to help his father-in-law when he was diagnosed with cancer. After a day’s work at NAS Fallon, Boyd said he came home and did the chores for both him and his father-in-law for many weeks, which sometimes took up to five hours each day to complete.
“He’s getting better,” Boyd said when asked, noting his father-in-law is cancer free.
According to Boyd, his daughter is in the process of returning to Fallon to re-establish her career, but his son, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island, decided to enlist in the Navy as a nuclear submarine machinist mate. He leaves for boot camp later this month.