Huckaba plans to support fleet even in retirement

Huckaba plans to support fleet even in retirementBy STACIE BAILEY

NAWCWD Public Affairs Office

“My dad is the one who put me on the bus,” Randy Huckaba said. “He’s the one who’s kept up and been there for most of my promotions and I want to make him proud. He’s been the one who’s cared about my career from Day 1.”

Huckaba, a St. Louis, Mo., native, joined the U.S. Navy just over 32 years ago. This Feb. 3 he retired from the Navy during a ceremony at the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, where he served as the command master chief to the installation and its tenant commands.

“I’m going to miss the closeness and the camaraderie of working at NAWS,” he said. “There’s a real sense of family here. I’ve met quite a few people that I trust and will stay in contact with for a long time.”

Huckaba is submarine qualified and is a master training specialist who has served sea duty aboard ships such as USS Henry Clay (SSBN 625), USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) and USS Florida (SSGN 728). He completed six overseas deployments and five strategic deterrent patrols before his previous role as the command master chief of the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Ga. He joined the China Lake community in 2014.

“Since I’ve been out of rate, I realized that being an advisor to the admiral is a big deal,” Huckaba said. “Getting a chance to whisper into the admiral’s ear when something needs to be said that, through normal channels, may not be heard is a very effective way of communicating.

“It’s something that’s needed for the civilian and military community and I’m very happy I’ve had the opportunity to do that [at China Lake], be part of the base organization and part of the Naval Air Systems Command. It’s been a big deal to me.”

The idea that a positive attitude plus full effort equals great performance is an equation that has stuck with Huckaba throughout his career. He acknowledged the Navy for reinforcing his sense of humility, looking out for other people and honoring and respecting them. He admitted, however, that he had those core values instilled in him by his father.

“I’m going to miss the routine, the adrenaline rush and the sense of accomplishment you gain through the Navy,” he said. “Some people that I worked with when I was younger are my rank right now. My own son is in the Navy, and he’s doing what I was doing working on submarines. I can see his development, and it makes me happy.

“I had nothing to do with it, but the people I worked alongside with have. So, I think the biggest thing I’ll miss seeing is personal development. I don’t know if I’ll get to do that again.”

A father of six, Huckaba is looking forward to spending more time at home and with his family. He and his wife, Diane, hope to travel the country. They plan to reside ultimately in Florida.

“I’ve already turned down a job that required a lot of traveling,” Huckaba said. “I think out of all the possibilities that I want to do, I want to work as a government employee. I have been pushing really hard to work with NAVAIR down in Florida because the direction they’re going is the direction I’ve been going for a long time. I’m not going to stop because I’m retiring.”

Huckaba has been awarded a Global War on Terror Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and a Meritorious Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal among other honors. During his retirement ceremony at China Lake, he was awarded the Legion of Merit medal in recognition of his service and end of tour.

“I’m very thankful and grateful that I’ve been able to serve my country for as long as I have because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my life taking care of my wife because she’s taken care of me. It’s time for me to follow her around a little bit.”

Story First Published: 2017-02-17