MCPON Visits USS Constitution



The master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON) visited with Sailors aboard USS Constitution Aug. 22 during Chief Heritage Weeks.

MCPON (SS/SW) Rick D. West spoke to approximately 50 crew members of Constitution about how to stay successful in the Navy.

West proceeded with humorous anecdotes, motivating the crew after a busy first week of chief heritage training, where nearly 150 first class petty officers chosen for promotion to chief petty officer learned 18th century naval skills and participated in various community service projects.

The all hands call was full of questions regarding Perform to Serve (PTS), Enlisted Retention Board (ERB) and ways to stay proactive.

“It is great to have MCPON visit and interact with the Sailors,” said Cmdr. Matthew Bonner, the 72nd commanding officer of Constitution. “They are able to directly hear from MCPON on the issues that affect them, as well as for him to see who they are and what they do here. He brought a unique perspective and was able to share that with the Sailors and convey important messages without it being filtered.”

Not only did West clarify the questions Sailors had, but he reinforced the importance the Navy puts on teamwork and family. He recognized various Sailors whom he had met and worked with in the past at events such as the Sea, Air and Space Exposition in Washington, D.C., and Chattanooga Navy Week where Navy ball caps were given to children at a local hospital during Caps for Kids.

“I previously met MCPON and joked that we must be related,” said Operations Specialist Seaman Ashley West. “Surprisingly, he remembered, making his all hands call very fun, informative and personable. He answered our questions with practical solutions to inspire us to be the best we can and reminded us to keep pushing for a brighter career.”

MCPON said he hoped Sailors gained an insight on what’s going on in the Navy, how important their mission is and how important their efforts are to the Navy. He was informed that it was also one of the Sailor’s birthday and led the entire crew in singing “happy birthday.”

West’s all hands call did not leave Sailors of Constitution empty handed; he lastly posed for photographs and gave words of wisdom to the young and future of the U.S. Navy to carry on as possibly the next chief petty officer selects.

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard of Boston Harbor and is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. The ship defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today’s Navy. Constitution’s mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history, as she welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year.

Source: navy, August 25, 2011