VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (NNS) -- Cmdr. Cherie R. Taylor, assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2, became the first African American woman to serve as the commanding officer of a Coastal Riverine Squadron Oct. 10, at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.
Taylor credits this historic achievement to her hard work, determination and discipline and encourages Sailors who want to follow in her footsteps to adopt these same traits.
“Never stop dreaming,” Taylor said. “You can do anything you put your mind to; nothing is impossible.”
The Brooklyn native enlisted in May 1988, beginning her career as a torpedoman’s mate at the MK “48” Intermediate Maintenance Activity on Naval Submarine Base San Diego.
“My best friend and another close friend joined the Army,” said Taylor. “Being from New York City, I did not know very much about the outdoors, so I thought it would be better for me to join the Navy, following in my cousin Daryl Scott’s footsteps.”
Her cousin retired as an Operations Specialist 1st Class and often shared his experiences of traveling the world with his family.
In December 1998, after earning her associate degree in Liberal Arts, she was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education.
Her duty stations as an officer include USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Amphibious Squadron 8 and USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) before transferring to CRS-2 as the Executive Officer (XO).
Taylor spoke about her biggest challenges during her transition from XO to CO.
“I have to trust my officers in charge,” said Taylor. “I have believe they will carry out my guidance, enforce policy and procedures and still perform their duties and responsibilities required for mission accomplishment.”
“As a surface warfare officer aboard a ship, I could call a meeting and assemble my Sailors relatively quickly, but at this command, that is not feasible,” said Taylor. “I have to ensure lines of communication are open and utilized often.”
Taylor said she most looks forward to leading Sailors in her new role as CO.
“I love the complexity of this job,” said Taylor. “Being able to lead and mentor Sailors dispersed all over the world is challenging yet rewarding.”
CRS-2 is part of the Coastal Riverine Force (CRF), which operates in harbors, rivers, bays, across the littorals and ashore. The primary mission of the CRF is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending high value assets, critical maritime infrastructure, ports and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways against enemies, and when commanded conduct offensive combat operations.
The CRF is composed of units manned, trained, and equipped to conduct port and harbor security, high-value asset security and escort, surveillance and reconnaissance, insertion and extraction of small units and command and control for supporting assigned units. It is capable of conducting 24-hour operations in all weather conditions and climates.
For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command , visit www.navy.mil/local/necc/.