VISIT FROM MCPON |
November 13, 2006
VISIT FROM THE MCPON
Posting date: 11/13/06
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog url: armysailor.com
I recently attended an "All Navy Call" in Bagram for a visit by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, the highest ranking enlisted person in the Navy. He has only been the MCPON for a few months, and he is the second MCPON to visit since I have been here. He strikes me as being much more down-to-earth, and much more sailor-oriented than the last MCPON. He seemed very personal, and seemed to have a genuine concern for those of us serving over here. I think he did an excellent job of addressing many of our concerns.
He made it a point to mention the changing face and role of the modern Navy. He also stressed that things were going to get harder on all sailors. In the past a sailor usually knew well in advance when his deployments would be, and when he'd be in port. Also in the past, shore duty (with a few exceptions) was kind of a "safe-haven" from deployments, sort of a break from arduous sea duty. But that is to be no more. He said we can expect to see these ground billets supporting the Army to become more and more the norm.
He took a series of questions and managed to answer them all pretty well, without anyone walking away feeling like they were just blown-off, or fed a line of crap. One humorous moment came when a young seaman, who said that he "had just gotten out of boot camp" asked if the MCPON thought we were witnessing the "end-times". While the crowd found the question very amusing, the MCPON managed to give the young man an answer, and not make him feel silly. In my opinion, that right there is a very positive sign. He made everyone feel welcome. I really wanted to get a picture with the new MCPON, but the line was incredibly long, people lined up like he was a rock star. I suppose in some ways, this man who has served his country with honor for long enough to remember a time when the Navy allowed beards, really is a rock star. He represents all that the most junior sailor can achieve, given the right motivation, perseverance and mentorship.
Although I have been really disappointed with a lot that is going on with the Navy today, I have to say I left the MCPON's visit tonight feeling a lot better about the Navy, and our leadership (inside the Navy). Nothing is all bad. I still intend to get out next year, because I want to pursue bigger dreams (not to mention my family will kill me if I don't get out), but it brings me hope to think that there may still be one or two of the "old-school Master Chiefs" out there to guide the Navy on its path. If every Master Chief were like the one who mentored me, the Navy would be a far better place... and I'd be re-enlisting.