Dearborn native fastest woman ranked to Master Chief in U.S. Navy

Charara oversees 7,000 sailors

DEARBORN, Mich. – A sailor from Dearborn was the fastest woman to be ranked as Master Chief in the United States Navy.

Women make up only 30% of the Navy, and only a fraction serve in senior roles.

Now consider this: Less than 1% of women who join the Navy attain the rank of Master Chief. And of all the Master Chiefs in Navy Recruiting, Heather Charara oversees them all.

The Arab American trailblazer hails from Dearborn. Local 4 caught up with the impressive role model as she met with family for the holidays.

“They all spoke so highly of her, and I said, ‘how do you know Heather?’ And they’d say, ‘she was my command leader,’” said KC Charara, Heather’s father.

Charara became the fastest woman to be promoted to master chief in the Career Recruiter Force. She was only 19 when she joined the Navy. Initially, her Dad was against the idea.

“Heather had always been in a leadership role growing up as a kid. So the more I thought about it, the less it surprised me,” said KC.

As the Navy Recruiting Command’s National Chief Recruiter, Charara is a vital gatekeeper overseeing 7,000 sailors. A responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.

“I really am a firm believer that representation matters,” said Heather. “And for me being the first woman... I wanted to make the best impact for future generations.”

She hails from Dearborn, and her background is Lebanese. For this Arab American trailblazer being a role model is in her DNA as the eldest of six. Newly engaged to a nuclear engineer Master Chief Charara said they plan to move back to Metro Detroit. In retirement, she plans to continue encouraging young people to follow their dreams.

“The Navy was never a career; it was a stepping stone for me,” said Heather. “I’ve been to 27 countries throughout the world, and every day I can go to bed with pride knowing that I’m making a difference one small part at a time.”

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism