UK: Master Chief Petty Officer of Navy Visits Sailors Operating in Europe


Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) kicked off fleet engagements with Sailors stationed across Europe July 12, starting in the United Kingdom at Northwood, Royal Air Force (RAF) Base Digby and Menwith Hill.

Soon after landing in the United Kingdom, MCPON(SS/SW) Rick D. West served as guest speaker at an informal fireside chat with the British Royal Navy Warrant Officer course in Shrivenham, England. West spoke to more than 40 members of the Tri-service Advanced Warrant Officers about subjects affecting our Navy as well as emphasizing the importance of joint operations in worldwide missions.

“It was an honor to speak to this group of professionals,” said West. “We have a lot in common and the more we share and communicate will only make the team better. We work closely throughout the world so engagements like these add tremendous value for all.”

West then went to the NATO command at Northwood, United Kingdom, to meet with Sailors assigned to Commander Submarine Group Eight and NATO, along with their British counterparts. He received briefs on the Royal Navy Maritime Operations Center and conducted a tour of the Northwood facilities.

“These are a great group of Sailors, and they continue to take the challenges they’re given and work through them by ‘outside of the box thinking’ which makes me proud,” said West.

The following day he met with Sailors remotely stationed at RAF Digby.

“I gained incredible insight on where the Navy is going today, and because our Navy is changing, MCPON’s explanations made it clear that we need to be stronger and more flexible in our careers,” said Cryptologic Technician 1st Class (EXW) Stephen Bittman.

Bittman also thought it was uplifting to ask hard questions to get realistic responses.

“He touched on real issues that concern our Sailors and the way that he presented the answers left no gray area and that’s what our Sailors need,” added Bittman.

MCPON wrapped up his visit in the United Kingdom with an all hands call at RAF Menwith Hill, where he received many questions on topics from physical readiness to uniform matters.

“The quality of the questions asked at these all hands calls was simply outstanding and it shows me that our Sailors are engaged not only within their commands, but also engaged with the happenings across our great Navy,” said West. “As I travel the Fleet, I have never been more impressed with the quality of Sailors that we have … they are simply the best.”

MCPON is scheduled to attend more Fleet engagements with Sailors at military installations in Belgium and Germany before returning to Washington. Fleet engagements are intended to provide senior leadership with a frontline assessment of Sailors and what they are doing in the Fleet.


Source: navy, July 19, 2011;