FLTCM (SS) Frank A. Lister Award

Established in 2000, The Fleet Master Chief Frank A. Lister Award for Exceptional Leadership and Motivation while serving as a Chief of the Boat recognizes a submarine Chief of the Boat who has displayed exceptional leadership and motivation of his crew. One award will be presented annually to a submarine senior or master chief petty officer while serving as or having recently served as Chief of the Boat in a submarine during the nomination period.

Read about Fleet Master Chief (SS) Frank Lister

2022 Award Winner:

CMDCM (SS) J. R. McGarrah, USN


for outstanding meritorious service as Chief of the Boat on USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23).

Command Master Chief McGarrah’s leadership, management, and mentorship of the Jimmy Carter crew were essential in executing a record-setting Extended Docking Selective Restricted Availability. He was the driving force behind the successful completion of acoustic trials, hydrodynamic performance trials, a multi-proficiency training certification, a combat readiness exam, and pre-deployment training periods. He is a master of and advisor on this most complex warship. He has coordinated over sixty ships’ control trainers and classroom training to ensure continued success at sea. Under his charge, the ship’s line handling teams were fully certified and prepared for several complex mooring evolutions, including undocking, open ocean transfers, and night-time transit. The care he puts into each sailor is immeasurable. He qualified over ten Diving Officers of the Watch and twenty Chiefs of the Watch, resulting in extensive watch bill flexibility. He was instrumental in the ship receiving the highest score in the recent squadron personnel inspection. He is sought after by fellow senior enlisted leadership for his experience. He has facilitated effective team integration, promotion of equal opportunity, and has led the preparation and integration of women on board.

Command Master Chief J. R. McGarrah is most deserving of recognition by the Naval Submarine League to receive the Master Chief Frank A. Lister Award for Exceptional Leadership and Motivation.


Fleet Master Chief Frank Lister

FLTCM (SS) Frank A Lister

Fleet Master Chief Lister’s Military career began at age 16 when he enlisted in the Arizona Air National Guard. He served one year and made one deployment before leaving to join the Navy. After completing recruit training in San Diego, California, he attended Submarine School in Groton CT, and was assigned to USS Sea Fox (SS 402), where he completed two WESTPAC deployments, serving as Leading Seaman/Small Boat Coxswain, Landing Party Team Member, Small Arms Petty Officer, Ships Diver (Scuba), Sonar Watch Stander and Torpedoman.

FLTCM Lister was awarded numerous letters of commendations for outstanding performance of duty, and advanced quickly from Seaman Apprentice (E-2) to Torpedoman Second Class (E-5), setting a personal goal to become a Chief Torpedoman and serve as a Chief of the Boat (COB). FLTCM Lister then served aboard USS Bugara (SS 331) as Leading Torpedoman, After Torpedo Room and completed one WESTPAC deployment.

In 1962, he attended Launcher Technician training at the Guided Missile School in Dam Neck VA and graduated first in his class. He was then assigned to USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN 601) (BLUE), where he completed six deterrent patrols and an 18-month shipyard overhaul in Vallejo CA. After overhaul, he was transferred to USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN 601) (GOLD), where he was advanced to Chief Torpedoman and served as Chief of the Boat/Enlisted Advisor, and completed five deterrent patrols.

In his next assignment at the Navy Recruiting Station, Salt Lake City, he distinguished himself as an outstanding navy recruiter, advancing from Field Recruiter to Station Supervisor to Zone Supervisor, Utah/Eastern Nevada. His zone consistently led the nation in Advanced Electronic and Nuclear Power enlisted recruiting.

FLTCM Lister next served as Chief of the Boat of the commissioning crew of USS Los Angeles (SSN 688), where he became the first person to be selected and assigned to a Chief of the Boat position by the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS).

FLTCM Lister was selected to serve as the Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force Master Chief (FORCM) in 1975 when he served for Force Commanders VADM Joe Williams, Jr. and VADM Ken Carr for four years. In 1979, he served as FLTCM for CINCLANT, ADM Harry Train, for three years. FLTCM Lister was also selected three times, in 1975, 1978 and 1982, as a finalist for Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON).

FLTCM Lister retired from the Navy in 1982 and became the President and CEO, Non Commissioned Officers Association in San Antonio, TX.