CMC returns home to Nevada
In due respects to American novelist Thomas Wolfe, one Fallon sailor has discovered he can return home again to remember the smell of sagebrush and to enjoy a lifestyle associated with the rustic West.
For the next three years, though, Command Master Chief Robert Boyd hopes to make his mark on the enlisted men and women who serve at Naval Air Station Fallon. Although he has been away from Nevada for most of the past 25 years, Boyd has kept the Silver State in his thoughts as he circled the world as a sailor in the U.S. Navy.
A 1988 graduate of Lowry High School in Winnemucca, Boyd spent most of his childhood living either in the Humboldt County seat or Battle Mountain, a short 55-mile drive east on Interstate 80.
“I loved it, the small town,” he said. “I love hunting, fishing, outdoor activities, sports … the whole atmosphere of growing up there. The small town was great.”
Shortly after graduation, Boyd entered the Navy through the delayed entry program and shipped out to boot camp almost two months later on July 20. Boyd later attended the Naval Submarine School to become a fire control technician. Near the end of two years of training and before he sailed on his first ship, the USS Topeka, a Los Angles class of submarine, Boyd married his high school sweetheart, Carey Avery, who was born in Carson City but moved to Winnemucca. Her father and stepmother eventually moved to Fallon 15 years ago where both of them still retain strong ties.
The Boyds have a son who is a student at the University of Rhode Island.
Although the Boyds spent most of their time on the East Coast, the Navy assigned Boyd to Reno as a recruiter where he could enjoy the wide-open spaces of Nevada. Once his tour ended in Reno, the Boyds headed east again where they would spend the next 17 years. Boyd’s newest assignment took him to the USS Springfield, later to a submarine squadron unit and then to the USS Miami, another Los Angeles class submarine. Because of his movement between submarines and squads, Boyd said he spent about 10 days at sea every month including a stint as chief petty officer aboard the USS Pittsburgh and then command master chief for Submarine Squadron 4.
Boyd said he almost had an opportunity to come to NAS Fallon more than three years ago, but he settled for the assignment on the USS Pittsburgh. When the CMC position opened again at Fallon later this year, Boyd received support to apply for the position, which was assigned to him.
“My force master chief encouraged me to get out to Fallon, and he made some calls. Thirty days later, here I am,” said Boyd, remembering the sequence of events.
Although Boyd brings a wealth of submarine knowledge to an aviation facility, he doesn’t see that as a deterrent in serving as command master chief.
“Directing, leading people is what it is all about,” he stressed.
Boyd said the military faces interesting times within the next 18 months, but he has a “wait and see” attitude. Once a new United States president is elected in less than a year, Boyd said new policies will be coming down to all the military services. As for NAS Fallon, he doesn’t foresee any major challenges.
“We’ll see how the new policies affect us,” he said.
Since his arrival in Fallon, Boyd has become active with the command and the sailors he oversees. He said the volunteering among sailors immediately caught his eye.
“The volunteer program here in Fallon is amazing, and the number of sailors who are involved in town is great,” he said. “The city embraces the sailors and keeps them out of trouble. I am pretty impressed with the volunteer program.”
Perhaps Boyd’s enthusiasm for sailors becoming part of the community while they serve here is making an impact. At the American Legion Post 16’s Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels program for senior citizens, more volunteers helped than expected by packaging more than 100 meals and delivering them to each senior’s house or apartment. Then there are the sailors who volunteer each year to help the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
In addition to encouraging young sailors to give something back to the community, both Robert and Carey Boyd are interested in shoring up the relationship between the city and Navy League.
Returning to Nevada for the Boyds is more than completing a three-year assignment.
“I am invested in coming home,” he added.