Grandin retires from the Navy after 30 years

Grandin retires from the Navy after 30 yearsBy THERESA GOLDSTRAND

NAWCWD Public Affairs

Command Master Chief Charles Grandin retired Oct. 17 after serving the Navy for 30 years.

He came to Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, in 2011 and served as command master chief to both NAWS and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division.

“Master Chief Grandin will be very much missed, but we wish him fair winds and following seas as he begins his next journey,” said NAWCWD Commander Rear Adm. Mike Moran. “He is the consummate professional and leader who always puts the welfare of his sailors above his own. We here at China Lake have been incredibly fortunate to have him on our leadership team and we are clearly far better off due to his selfless and dedicated service.”

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to serve our country. Unfortunately, I only had 30 years,” said Grandin, a native of Lakewood, N.Y.

“Make the most of every day and build lasting friendships and memories or sea stories,” he added. “No matter how tough it gets, never stop trying. Eventually you’ll get it right.”

Grandin joined the Navy in 1985.

“When I first started out I gave it 150 percent, but I couldn’t seem to get anything right,” he said. “My first week on the sub, I was painting the bridge trunk. I worked really hard and did a really good job.

“After I was finished, I stepped away to get a ‘wet paint’ sign. About that time I heard a loud scream, and I ran back to see my C.O. in choker whites with two black stripes down the front of his uniform.”

One of Grandin’s most challenging assignments came when he was command master chief of the Deep Submergence Unit in San Diego. In August 2005 the Russian minisubmersible and her seven crew members were trapped at a depth of about 250 feet. The submersible had become snagged by a cable and couldn’t be freed.

“It was kinda like being in the fire department,” Grandin said. “My pager beeped in the middle of the night. I told my wife I had to go to Russia. She thought I was kidding.”

Grandin flew to Russia with a team of 42 sailors. They were in the air that afternoon and 10 hours later landed in Petropavlovsk, Russia. They became part of an international team comprising American and British sailors.

The Russians endured darkness and frigid temperatures for three days until their minisubmarine was freed from the Pacific floor by a British remotely controlled vehicle, operated by American divers. Seventy-two hours later, Grandin and his team returned to San Diego.

According to Capt. Rich Wiley, commanding officer of NAWS, the role of a senior enlisted leader cannot be overstated. Such leaders help provide the moral compass for not only the command but also the commanding officers by ensuring that the highest standards of professionalism are upheld at all levels within the chain of command.

“Command master chiefs strengthen the chain of command by keeping the commanding officer aware of the command environment, the effect of orders on the crew, as well as procedures and practices which may affect the mission, readiness, welfare and morale of Sailors in his command.”

Wiley stated that Grandin effectively managed each one of these directives.

“Master Chief Grandin upheld the highest traditions of the office of the command master chief,” said Wiley. “His impeccable advice was timely and always respectful. He was always cognizant of his roots as a young enlisted Sailor on a submarine. He was aware of how certain decisions he was a part of with the commanding officer would affect the junior Sailors entrusted to their care. To that I will always be thankful. All God’s blessings to you and your family, Master Chief. Thank you for over 30 years of service to your country and your Sailors.”

“This has been the best duty station for me. It’s a great place to retire from. The community has been great. I’ll be back to visit because my son is stationed here.”

Grandin has a bachelor’s degree in human resources. His numerous service awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, seven Navy Commendation Medals and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Grandin plans to retire near Temecula where he and his family reside.

Story First Published: 2014-11-05