USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Leaders aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are focusing on a new Senior Petty Officer Indoctrination course during its 2006 deployment to the Western Pacific this summer.
According to Senior Chief Navy Counselor (AW/SW) Brian Schroepfer, Lincoln's command career counselor, Lincoln's leadership recognized the need to "bridge the gap between [petty officer 3rd class] indoctrination and what [a new 2nd or 1st class petty officer] is supposed to do in the 120 days before they are eligible to attend Leadership Development Training.
"We wanted to make sure there's 'no Sailor left behind,'" said Schroepfer.
The process began by drawing together a team to develop a curriculum. Initially, a focus group consisting of petty officers 2nd and 1st class advanced during the September '05 advancement cycle was formed. They were given a standardized leadership test and asked an open-ended question.
"We asked them, 'what tools would you have liked to have before you walked into your work center with your new rate?'" said Chief Electronics Technician (SW/AW/MTS) Kathleen E. Jackson, who was hand-picked to develop and lead the training along with Chief Torpedoman's Mate (SW/AW/MTS) Regina Hawley by Lincoln's Command Master Chief, CMDCM (AW/SW) Michael Anjola.
Jackson said that their survey netted 30 "ideas or concepts" that were developed into 10 topics for the new 2nd class petty officers, and 13 for new 1st class petty officers.
Jackson said that formal instructor guides were forgone; the point of these leadership training sessions was for instructors to facilitate discussion, not dictate a lesson that limits student interaction.
Air Traffic Controller 1st Class (AW/SW) Francisco Munoz, one of the Sailors who attended the leadership training, said that the course brought the Navy's Core Values more into focus for him, and helped him apply them to his leadership abilities.
"I appreciated the training because it made me understand what the Navy Core Values & Sailor's Creed represent," said Munoz. "For the first time I wasn't just reading it, but understanding it.
According to Force Master Chief (AW/SW) James Abeyta of Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific, the skills learned during the course are very handy.
"You actually have an opportunity to practice [leadership skills learned in the course] almost daily. You can then take that information and share it with your people," said Abeyta.
Schroepfer said that the training had dramatic and measurable results. In comparison with the scores on the leadership test taken by focus group Sailors, test scores increased: 88.2 percent for 2nd class petty officers who went through leadership training vice 52.7 percent for those who didn't, and 90.7 percent for 1st class petty officers who took the training vice 52.3 percent for those who did not.
"If we can show that, by investing 10 hours [of leadership training] in a Sailor who just advanced, they can show more knowledge, isn't that a good thing?" asked Schroepfer.
Jackson and most of the development group, as well as several of the newly frocked 1st and 2nd class petty officers who attended the training, presented the executive summary of the course to Abeyta during his recent visit to the carrier. Abeyta gave them a few words of encouragement, as well as giving them his ideas for the direction of the indoctrination course.
"I think this course is important not only for the ship, but because it is also good for the Navy. We took the creativity of these people here [who put together the senior petty officer indoctrination] and empowered them to make a difference," he said.
"I think it sends a powerful message to the Navy leadership that Abraham Lincoln is serious about [leadership development] and that we can make a contribution," Jackson said.
Abeyta said he hopes the program that began aboard Lincoln, will "catch like a wildfire," spreading throughout the Navy.
"I think that [senior petty officer indoctrination] starting here [aboard Lincoln] is pretty significant."
Lincoln is on a routine Western Pacific deployment.
For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.