YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON) praised the supply community during a personal visit to U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka, July 6 during a special all hands call for FISC Yokosuka Sailors.
"I have the greatest respect for our supply Sailors," MCPON (SS/SW) Rick D. West told more than 100 in attendance. "Your work gets ships underway, gets planes in the air and ensures that operations and humanitarian missions get accomplished."
West visited FISC Yokosuka as part of a greater MCPON tour of the Western Pacific with Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughhead, who visited Japan and South Korea July 1-7 to reinforce the Navy's commitment to its partner nations and further enhance the friendship between the two navies.
"I know Master Chief West; I know his candid and honest style. I knew if we could get FISC on his schedule he would have some great words for our troops," said FISC's Command Master Chief, (SW/AW) Juan Morales, who arranged the visit to FISC.
West discussed the value of early career professional and educational moves "outside the box."
"As 'FDNF' Sailors (Forward Deployed Naval Forces), whether you volunteered to serve in Japan or you were 'voluntold'," said West, "you have a valuable opportunity to leverage your overseas tour into developing yourselves both educationally and professionally.
"I will tell you, after serving twenty-eight years in the Navy, if I could go back, one thing I would make sure I did, would be getting that FDNF billet. I wish I'd done that," West added.
Asked the value of educational initiatives when there appear to so many options and obligations, West was swift to respond.
"Take every opportunity. You know your annual Navy training obligations, but don't shy away from the Navy's other educational initiatives. And, I'll tell you, your Navy looks very favorably on outside education too, such as college or college-level technical courses. Finally, I can also tell you, when you're going up for advancement, any board looking at two, similar, competitive advancement packages, is going to consider giving the nod to the one with those education pursuits."
When West opened the deck for questions, many focused on leadership and development, including interest in the initiation of a standardized Disciplinary Review Board process called the Standards and Conduct Board - recently approved for expanded use as a pilot. As part of the program, chiefs will have the opportunity to mentor and counsel Sailors proactively rather than reactively.
To the audible delight of many Sailors, MCPON also revealed that he has adopted new social networking opportunities to reach Sailors, and is initiating both a "Facebook" presence and a "Twitter" page.
"Look to these in the future for fast-breaking information," said West. "I promise you, things are coming fast, so that's one way I'm looking at to getting the word out."
Other questions focused on the availability of both military working uniforms and official physical fitness apparel. In the case of physical fitness gear, flaws associated with a previous issue of PT uniforms have been corrected; new, "high-performance" graded PT gear sporting the same Navy blue and gold trim should be available in September. Distribution of the new Navy working uniform (NWU) should take place between September and December this year. West also said he ironed out methods to explore a means for Sailors to appropriately wear the NWU in an off-duty capacity.
West concluded by telling Sailors, their interests are forefront on his mind.
"That's why I'm not in my office 85 to 95 percent of the time; I'm out with the fleet, talking with great Sailors like you."
For more news from U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/fiscyokosuka/.