SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West addressed the 21st annual Navy Counselor Association (NCA) Symposium and touched on many topics affecting Sailors across the Navy June 17.
In his remarks to the symposium's general assembly in the morning, West stressed the importance of physical readiness and a culture of fitness. He also referenced the Navy adage of 'Ship, Shipmate, Self' and that every Sailor must anticipate a time when they'll be asked to save their ship. It's then that warfare qualifications and fitness will be of the utmost importance.
"PT [physical training] has to be part of our every day routine," said West. "Saying you don't have the time isn't going to work. No more excuses."
West spoke to the general assembly for more than an hour and fielded questions on the Navy Working Uniform, CPO [chief petty officer] Continuation Boards and the recently announced changes to the Selective Reenlistment Bonus and Special Duty Assignment Pay programs.
The MCPON closed out the day by serving as the keynote speaker at the Navy Counselor Association Awards Banquet, where he stressed a subject he's been emphasizing since his time serving as Pacific Fleet Master Chief and at US Navy Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk.
"Not a day goes by that I don't talk to our chiefs about the importance of 'Brilliant on the Basics (Career Development Boards, Sponsorship, Mentorship, Sailor Recognition, Command Indoctrination and Command Ombudsmen support). Those are six very traditional areas I expect us all to focus on, but especially the CPO mess."
West said he expects the Navy Counselor community to be the experts in each of those areas and to serve as resources to the chiefs mess. Part of being a good chief is knowing who to turn to and when, and that all CPOs need to be leveraging the knowledge found in the NC rating.
"Career counseling is a chief's function. But it's not something we should be doing only when we need to. It should be an every day activity, a discussion point every time they speak with Sailors," said West. He added that it's the NCs who can help the chiefs do that.
West realized early on in his career just how critical NCs are to the success of the individual Sailor on the deckplate and that his appreciation for that has never waivered.
"I value what you do. Not only as your MCPON, but as a CMC [command master chief], a COB [chief of the boat], and a master chief who's been on the deckplates and realizes just how important you are."
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