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Command master chief trades East Coast for the High Desert

Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com


Steve Ranson / LVN photo

Although he has spent the majority of his military career on the East Coast, Naval Air Station Fallon’s new command master chief said he welcomes the opportunity to accept an assignment at the Navy’s premier training facility in the Nevada high desert.

CMC Bobby T. Anderson said the Fallon position was on his list.

“I volunteered to come out here,” he said. “I don’t regret it. It was a change of pace my family and I needed.”

Jones’ wife, Chrisna, is a chief in the Navy currently attending career counseling school. Once she completes her schooling, she will join her husband in Fallon by taking a full-time assignment with Fighter Squadron Composite VFC-13, the Saints.

During his 27-year career in the Navy, Anderson said he and Chrisna have been together most of the time and were apart only once for nine months when she was at a Navy Reserve Center in Pittsburgh.

“We have been very fortunate the detailer has worked it out for us,” he added.

Their three grown children, though, will remain on the East Coast where they are either attending college or pursing their own careers.

Anderson said their son Akeem, the oldest of the three, attended St. Augustine’s University where he also played basketball and will be showing his skills for an NBA Combine; Alysha, who is attending Strayer University; and Tamara, who recently finished Tidewater Community College and will be heading to the University of Arkansas.

“It’s a challenge to have children in different areas,” Anderson said. “When we lived in Virginia, we were all close.”

Anderson stresses education, not only for his son and two daughters but also for himself. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Strayer University and is working on a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from North Central University.

Anderson, who was born in Milwaukee but grew up in Jackson, Miss., said he is looking forward to his NAS Fallon assignment and has become acquainted with the community. So far, he has attended Fallon Chamber of Commerce and Navy League meetings and has visited with Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman. He also put on his running shoes and competed in the Kaia F.I.T. Relay for Life challenge.

When he began his military career, Anderson thought he would be following in his family’s footsteps in the U.S. Army. He had one uncle who served 20 years, another who put in 26. Before he graduated from high school, Anderson joined the Army and attended his basic and advanced training in combat engineering at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, which had a unit in Mississippi.

Despite the strong Army ties in his extended family, the call of the oceans beckoned Anderson to join the Navy.

“I had a full-time opportunity to join the Navy. I couldn’t see myself doing a career driving tanks,” he said with a laugh.

Yet, the ability to understand the lingo of both the Army and Navy has helped Anderson since he understands the lingo during a joint exercise that involves the Marines or Army working alongside the Navy.

Anderson said every assignment in the Navy has been gratifying He previously served as a command master chief aboard the frigate USS Carr, Assault Craft Unit 4 and Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM 15). During Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he was on the destroyer USS William V. Pratt. Other assignments have included Charleston, S.C.; Yongsan, Republic of Korea Millington, Tenn.; San Diego; and Naval Station Great Lakes.

Anderson said he loves to travel, and when his wife arrives, he hopes to see more of the Great Basin and the West.

As he settles in, Anderson said as a leader he want to affect sailors in a positive ways.

“I always look for constant improvement in what can I do better,” he said.

With Anderson just arriving at NAS Fallon, his commander will be leaving in June. Anderson said he has had a chance to meet Capt. Rhinehart Wilke and his family.

“He’s awesome,” Anderson said of Wilke. “When I first met the skipper, I found his call sign, ‘Rhino,’ as a pilot fit his individual character. I wish I had more time to work with him. He has a beautiful family.”