ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(AW/NAC) Mike D. Stevens completed his first MCPON Fleet engagement visit with Sailors and Marines stationed at Naval Base Rota, Spain, Oct. 17.
The trip was not the first time MCPON set foot on the grounds of the coastal Spanish base.
"I started my career here," Stevens said to Sailors at the base air operations center. "I spent good years here from 1983 to 1987, and I enjoyed my time so much that the Navy had to make me leave."
MCPON's stay included office calls with base leadership, a brief about the future addition of Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Rota, an all-hands call with Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, a tour of base facilities, a meeting with area spouses, interviews with Armed Forces Network (AFN), a meeting and dinner with the Spanish MCPON and interaction with Sailors and Marines.
During the all-hands call, MCPON spoke about his first few weeks in his new position, reflecting on the comprehensive consideration given to how programs and policies will impact Sailors.
"It wasn't long ago I stood in your shoes," said Stevens. "As a junior Sailor, I sometimes believed Sailors were an afterthought in a lot of high-level decisions, but I have learned that the truth of the matter is you are the first thought each and every time."
Sailors and their families stationed in Rota are currently planning for the arrival of four destroyers which will be homeported there as FDNF. The move will bring nearly 3,000 new Sailors and family members to the base, raising the population from 7,000 to 10,000.
The main focus of MCPON's visit was to talk to Sailors and Marines as well as give them a chance to ask questions and discuss potential issues service members and families may have.
"I can tell you that you are going to see a lot more buzz around the base," said Stevens to a group of Navy spouses. "What comes to your mind right away as potential problems? Your concerns are my concerns and that is why I am here."
He also spoke about his goals as MCPON.
"I want to focus on three things because I believe in being excellent at a few things rather than being mediocre at many," said Stevens to Sailors at NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Rota. "I want you to work hard every day, stay out of trouble, and be a good and decent person. If you can do those three things, then everything else will fall in order."
Fleet engagements are intended to provide senior leadership with a frontline assessment of Sailors and what they are doing in the Fleet.
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