Robert Field Oakeley, Master Chief Petty Officer, USN (Retired) a Taos native, died on 3 March 2018 at the age of 82. He was born on July 31, 1935 to Robert Charles Oakeley and Eloisa Lopez.
He attended Central Catholic and toted a shoeshine box to the bus depot at the age of 12. During his teen years, he was a member of the Taos National Guard, worked after school at one of the few gas stations in town and drove a school bus. He graduated from Taos High School in 1954 and joined the Navy.
After boot camp in San Diego, CA he went on to graduate from Machinist Mate school in Great Lakes, IL. As a Machinist Mate he served in the engine rooms aboard two destroyers, a destroyer-tender and the nuclear-powered cruiser USS Long Beach (CGN-9). While on the Long Beach He deployed from home for three full tours of duty at sea in the Tonkin Gulf during the Viet Nam War. His ports of call took him to South America, Japan, Australia, Greece, Spain, the Panama Canal and around the Cape of Good Hope. He crossed the equator seven times and is recognized as a "Golden Shell Back". He is part of Navy history by cruising around the world in 54 days (without refueling) as "Nuclear Task Force One" in 1964.
While on shore duty He was selected as one of the first Master Chief Navy Career Counselors (NCC) when the Navy established the NCC rating in 1974. As a NCCM, he was the Chief Recruiter for the state of Michigan. He served as the Master Chief of Command (MCPOC) aboard the Amphibious Ships USS Tarawa (LHA-1) in 1975 and USS Saipan (LHA-2) in 1977 as a "Plank Owner", retired in 1979 as Master Chief of Retention for the Atlantic Fleet after 27 years of military service.
Upon his return to Taos he enjoyed various opportunities, from Union Molycorp in Questa, Johnson Controls in Los Alamos, the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center and Chief of Security for Taos Mountain Casino. He also graduated from Northern New Mexico Community College with an associates degree in 1994.
He was a member of the VFW POST 9516, the American Legion Post 00016 and the Fleet Reserve Association. He was also a member of the Bent Lodge No. 42 A.F. & A.M. of Taos where his grandfather, Richard Field Oakeley was a senior warden in the 1900's.
He was preceded in death by sons Richard Banner Field and Patrick Field. He is survived by his wife, Gladys M. Oakeley, children Katrina Oakeley-Chancellor and husband Chris, Robert Bryan and wife Kelly and Rebecca Oakeley-Griffith. Grandchildren, Michael, Bronson Chancellor, Elizabeth, William, Lilia and Rebecca Griffith.
Brothers: William A. Oakeley of Santa Fe, H. James Oakeley 6f Arroyo Hondo, sister Barbara Oakeley Mondragon of Taos and many nieces, nephews and God Children.
Cremation has taken place. Interment to follow with full military honors will be at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Point Loma, San Diego CA at a future date.