Rear Admiral Charles R. McGrail was commissioned as an Ensign at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1957 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1958.
His first tour was as a Flight Instructor with Training Squadron 21 at NAS Kingsville, Texas. In 1960-63 he moved to NAS Miramar, California and deployed to the Western Pacific in Fighter Squadron 141 aboard USS LEXINGTON and with Fighter Squadron 54 in USS TICONDEROGA. He then served for three years as a RPV project pilot and test conductor at the Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, California.
His next sea tour was in 1967-1968 in Fighter Squadron 143 with which he deployed twice during the Vietnam War to the Tonkin Gulf in USS CONSTELLATION. He was a Flight Commander and Instructor Pilot in the 4535th Combat Crew Training Squadron at George Air Force Base, California, while on exchange duty flying F-4E aircraft with the U.S. Air Force. Rear Admiral McGrail then had a joint staff tour at Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Saigon, Vietnam, in 1971-1972 as an Air Operations Staff Officer involved in overall planning for all four services1 tactical air operations in the Southeast Asia Theater. He next served as Commanding Officer of Fighter Squadron 96 during two deployments to Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific in USS CONSTELLATION. He spent the next two years at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C. in PERS-432 as Aviation Lieutenant Commander/Junior Officer Assignment Branch Head where he was responsible for the detailing and assignment of aviation officers to billets throughout the fleet.
Returning to the Pacific Fleet, he commanded the F-4 Fleet Readiness Squadron, Fighter Squadron 121, at NAS Miramar. Rear Admiral McGrail then served at sea on the Staff of Commander Task Force 77/70, Carrier Strike Force Seventh Fleet, as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans in 1978-1980. During this time the staff was aboard USS ENTERPRISE, USS CONSTELLATION, USS RANGER, USS KITTY HAWK and USS NIMITZ operating in the Western Pacific, and the Indian Ocean during crises in the Gulf of Aden and Iran.
Rear Admiral McGrail commanded USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10) as flagship for Commander, Amphibious Squadron One as part of the amphibious forces in Seventh Fleet. He next commanded USS MIDWAY (CV 41), the Navy's only aircraft carrier based overseas, in Yokosuka, Japan, from 1982 to 1984 during which time MIDWAY won its second consecutive Pacific Fleet Battle Efficiency Award and the Golden Anchor retention award while serving as flagship for Commander Task Force 77/70 during several deployments throughout the Western and Northern Pacific and Indian Oceans. Following selection to Commodore, he attended the joint service Capstone course at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington D.C., and then remained in Washington as Director, Aircraft Carrier and Air Station Programs Division (OP-55) and also as Director, Aviation Plans and Requirements Division (OP-50), on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare).
As Commander, Carrier Group One and Commander, Battle Group ECHO, Rear Admiral McGrail embarked in his flagship USS RANGER (CV 61) homeported in San Diego, California, during two surge deployments to the Western and Northern Pacific oceans in 1986-87 prior to his present assignment as Deputy Director of Naval Warfare (OP-07B) in Washington, D.C.
Rear Admiral McGrail's personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Navy Commendation Medal, as well as various unit awards, campaign ribbons and foreign medals. He married the former Jeanene Vescelius of San Diego, California, and had six children: sons James and Mark, and daughters Laurie, Cynthia, Catherine, and Carolyn.