Tacoma Native Serves aboard Navy Warship in San Diego

Chief Petty Officer Runsiya Richards
Chief Petty Officer Runsiya Richards is a boatswain's mate aboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego. Photo courtesy: Navy Outreach

Submitted by Navy Outreach / By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James H. Green, Navy Office of Community Outreach

A Tacoma, Washington, native and 2004 Spanaway Lake High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Wayne E. Meyer.

Chief Petty Officer Runsiya Richards is a boatswain’s mate aboard the guided-missile destroyer operating out of San Diego.

A Navy boatswain’s mate chief is responsible for supervising 27 personnel in search and rescue, underway replenishment, maintenance and flight deck evolutions.

“There is a big military influence in the area where I am from, and I have carried that structure and discipline over into my Navy career,” Richards said.

More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.

“The success of our Surface Force ships is measured by our ability to provide Fleet Commanders with combat naval power at sea and to project that power ashore where and when it matters,” said Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces.  “It’s hard work to ready ships for combat operations at sea – it takes the talent of an entire crew working well together.  I’m extremely proud of the each and every surface warrior’s contributions to the Navy’s enduring mission of protecting and defending America, at home and around the world.”

A Navy destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

Richards has military ties with family members who have previously served, and she is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“All the men in my family have served in the military, but I am the first woman,” Richards said. “I hope that I can help influence other women to also join.”

Richards’ proudest accomplishment was earning her anchors and becoming a chief petty officer. She says it’s special because of all the hard work that goes into it. It is not only from her, but her entire support system.

“Serving in the Navy has made me a better person because of how it has made me step out of my comfort zone and instill confidence in my abilities,” said Richards.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Richards and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“The Navy has filled me with honor and reinforced in me that the sacrifices I have made weren’t in vain,” Richards added.


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