He reported to USS BREWTON (FF 1086) in May 1987 starting his first sea tour and was advanced to Yeoman Third Class making a 5-month deployment to the South Pacific. He then reported to Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, HI from May 1990 to May 1993 where he was advanced to Second Class Petty Officer. His next tour of duty placed him onboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19) in Yokosuka, Japan from June 1993 to June 1995 as the Leading Petty Officer. He then continued on sea duty and reported to USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70) from June 1995 to April 1997, advancing to First Class Petty Officer and served as the Leading Petty Officer.
He split toured and remained at-sea and reported to USS REUBEN JAMES (FFG 57) as the Ship’s Secretary from April 1997 to April 1999 earning his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist designation and making a deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Maritime Interdiction Operations. Following his third sea tour, he reported to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), Mons, Belgium serving on the staff of Major General Robert Dierker from April 1999 to March 2001. He was selected to serve as the Assistant Officer in Charge, U.S. Navy Element Belgium from April 2001 to January 2002 in support of 300 personnel. He was advanced to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in September 1999.
Returning to sea duty, he reported to Special Projects Patrol Squadron TWO (VPU-2) from January 2002 to December 2004 as the Admin Officer and Department Leading Chief Petty Officer. There he was advanced to Senior Chief Petty Officer in May 2002 and earned his Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist designation in May 2003. He made deployments to Bahrain, Oman, and Afghanistan. He then reported to the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, HI from December 2004 to January 2008 as Flag Admin Department Leading Chief Petty Officer. He volunteered for a nine-month combat Individual Augmentee tour serving in Baghdad, Iraq supporting Joint Counter-Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare specialty unit from January to September 2007 and advanced to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer in May 2007. He then reported to Naval Station Pearl Harbor, HI from January to October 2008 as the Admin Officer. He was selected for the Command Master Chief Program in 2009 and served as the Command Master Chief of Naval Station Pearl Harbor, HI from November 2008 to June 2009.
He returned to sea once again and served as Command Master Chief in USS HOWARD (DDG 83) from September 2009 to July 2011 deploying twice to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf conducting anti-piracy and counter-terrorism operations near the Horn of Africa and in the Red Sea. He then served as Command Master Chief in USS O’KANE (DDG 77) from July 2011 to October 2014 completing two Arabian Gulf Deployments in support of Operation ENDURING/IRAQI FREEDOM and Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, the 2014 U.S.-led multi-lateral air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levent over Syria. In November 2014, he assumed his present duties as Command Master Chief in Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Pacific and earned his Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist designation in September 2015.
He is a graduate of the United States Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Class 122 (BLUE GROUP) and Command Master Chief Capstone Class 64.
Command Master Chief Blackburn's personal awards include: The Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (eight awards) and various campaign, unit and service decorations.