USA: Master Chief Petty Officer of Navy Visits Bremerton and Bangor, Washington

Master Chief Petty Officer of Navy Visits  in Bremerton and Bangor, Washington

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West completed visits with Sailors stationed at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bremerton and Bangor, Washington, July 27.

The agenda included office calls with senior leadership, a tour of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), a visit with a Command Fitness Leader course, a demonstration by military working dogs, a NBK-Bangor all hands call, a tour of USS Nevada (SSBN 773), and a stop with Sailors and Marines stationed at the Waterfront Security Facility.

Throughout the visit, MCPON discussed recently unveiled force management initiatives targeted at filling gaps in sea-duty billets, including extension of the Voluntary Sea Duty Program, introduction of Chief Petty Officer Early Return to Sea, and revised detailing business rules for Sailors.

“Anything to do with manpower is not an instantaneous change,” said West. “I think we are on the right path, and these new programs will help us get the people we need at sea. What you saw from this last advancement cycle was an increase in advancement. Chief results will be out soon and with the highest numbers we have seen in a long time. We have shaped manning and improved the opportunity for Sailors throughout the fleet to promote.”

With his change of office and retirement scheduled for September 28, MCPON was frequently asked to reflect on his career in the Navy.

“You are looking at a guy that came in 32 years ago from a little town in Georgia called Rising Fawn,” West said. “I never thought I would make the Navy a career when I came in, but 32 years passed by too quickly. I would trade places with the youngest Sailor in the room to start my career again because I think the next five to 15 years will see lots of great changes for the Navy.

“I will miss many things about our great Navy but the one thing that will be the most difficult change for me will be not getting to spend time with our Sailors,” West continued. “They are the engine that runs our great Navy and the most advanced weapons system we have … they simply can’t be matched.”

A chief petty officer for almost 25 years, West added that it has been an honor and privilege to be part of that group serving our Sailors. He encouraged Sailors striving to become Chiefs to seek diversity and keep all options to make the most of their careers.

“Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone Sailors,” said West. “If you are from Bremerton, Washington, don’t just stay here. Grab billets overseas. We have Sailors stationed throughout the world … go get those billets, take your families and have a great experience.

MCPON reiterated his outstanding impression of Sailors stationed in the region.

“Our Navy team in the Pacific Northwest is on top of its game,” West said. “They, and their families, should take a great deal of pride in their contributions to our mission success and their solid reputation for doing difficult jobs. This is a motivating place to be stationed and it shows in the way the Sailors take care of business.”

MCPON will remain in the area to attend Seattle Seafair next week.

Fleet engagements are intended to provide senior leadership with a frontline assessment of Sailors and what they are doing in the Fleet.

Naval Today Staff, July 31, 2012; Image: US Navy