JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- More than 50 of the Navy's most senior enlisted leaders from around the world gathered at Naval Air Station Jacksonville Nov. 1-6 to participate in the inaugural Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Fleet and Force Conference.
"This is my first major conference for fleet, force and region master chiefs. Like me, they each work for an admiral, and we're here to reshape the mess by raising the level of conversation among our leadership," said MCPON (SS/SW) Rick West. "We set an aggressive agenda that focuses on a range of deckplate and family issues. Our expert speakers range from flag ranks – including Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson – to master chiefs and civilian subject matter specialists.
"Our success will be gauged through deckplate leadership, with a significant focus on junior enlisted development."
After welcoming remarks by Commander, Navy Region Southeast Rear Adm. Tim Alexander, West and his master chiefs discussed a varety of topics including Safe Harbor/wounded warrior/combat casualty care, suicide prevention and personal financial management, family readiness/deployment support, sexual Assault, ombudsman support, physical readiness, the Navy working uniform, and warfare qualifications.
"We want it mandatory for young Sailors. When you see a Sailor with a warfare device on his or her chest, you know that Sailor has met the requirements to combat or save that ship, their shipmates or themselves," said West.
West also stressed, "Communications is key – but you have to choose the right media. I'm fond of saying that I'm not a 'big meeting' guy because today's technology allows us to push information out via so many different channels. When I send something out to the fleet, my expectation is that it hits the deckplate and gets down to our junior Sailors. On the other hand, there may also be communications where I ask you to 'hold this close' so it's received only by a select audience.
As many of you know, I also have a Facebook page where Sailors can directly communicate with me. But I also get questions from high school students considering a career in the Navy – and that's something we can all engage on."
For more news from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, visit www.navy.mil/local/nasjax/.