USA: CNO and MCPON Hold All Hands Call

CNO and MCPON Hold All Hands Call

Nearly 2,500 Sailors from Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville and tenant commands attended an all hands call with Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens May 3.

Before addressing numerous questions from local Sailors and from around the world via live streaming, Greenert proudly gave the oath to 16 petty officers who chose to be reenlisted by the CNO during the event. After swearing them in, CNO and MCPON greeted each of the Sailors and presented them with coins.

“First, I want to thank all the family members here today and want to reassure that we will continue to support the Navy’s family programs,” said Greenert. “Many of you have concerns about the budget so I want to clarify a few things. We now have a budget for this year which means we are paying our previous debts and are reengaging ship deployments. Training and maintenance for next year’s deployments is also set.”

Greenert continued, “We are also currently looking at the 2014 budget which could mean more reductions, but we have time to work on reshaping our military and have a much better understanding on how to prioritize to get the job done.”

As the floor opened up for questions and answers, Sailors discussed such topics as budget cuts due to sequestration, Navy entitlements, Individual Augmentee (IA) deployments, ship deployment rotations, promotion opportunities, tuition assistance, retirement reform and changes to uniform regulations.

“IAs will continue to draw down in the future and be filled by Reservists. There are certain skill sets that will still be deployed like those in the medical, logistics, intelligence and Seabee fields but we are filling more of these billets with volunteers from the Reserves,” stated Greenert.

Stevens took on several questions such as, “Is the Navy happy with the number of enlisted members, specifically in the different ranks and how is retention going to be affected in the future.”

“We are working very hard to get the right people in the right jobs,” said Stevens. “We are finding that about 20 percent of the enlisted rates are more challenging to fill right now. As for managing enlisted careers, we are creating a single source – a new program that should roll-out in June – that should help all of us to better manage our careers.”

Ensign Winston Massey, from Patrol Squadron (VP) 30, told the CNO that his dream was to become an astronaut and wondered about the future of the Navy’s space program.

“We have a need for payloads in space and have a program developing to replace the constellation (payloads/satellites) currently up there. It’s currently under discussion what branch should operate the program. But good luck with your dream,” Greenert told the young ensign.

To close out the all-hands call, Stevens reminded the Sailors to treat one another with decency and respect. “I am confident that we will see ourselves through these challenging times and continue to be the greatest Navy in the world.”

Greenert added, “Thank you for your time. and please remember that our Navy is growing and sequestration can’t stop that growth. You are all doing a great job. Keep up the good work.”

After the all-hands call, Greenert gathered with the Sailors he reenlisted and their families for a group photo and thanked them for their dedicated service.

Press Release, May 7, 2013; Image: US Navy