FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy took time to share the latest information on government shutdown and other fleet issues with Sailors, Navy civilians and their families Oct. 8, during a worldwide Navy birthday all hands call at the Defense Media Activity.
Pay initiatives, sequestration impacts, and uniform updates were among the topics Adm. Jonathan Greenert and MCPON (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens talked about with a live studio audience, as well as Sailors from around the world via satellite and social media.
An early question from the live audience pertained to the current evaluation system in the Navy.
"I'm generally happy with it (the Navy evaluation system). I would say what we need to do when we think about evaluating people is to be truthful and objective. There is a propensity to kind of make people feel good on evaluations when hard decisions have to be made. We need those decisions to be made at the deck plate level," said Greenert.
The Navy leaders started with the show by reenlisting 16 Sailors with their families and command leadership on hand. Then Sailors from Norfolk, San Diego, and Afghanistan were able to ask live video questions via satellite, and Sailors from USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Simpson (FFG 56) phoned in questions while on their current deployment in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
Stevens took a question from Afghanistan regarding retention initiatives.
"Our numbers for retention show us we're getting it(Sailor retention) pretty close to right. However we're always going to look for ways to improve quality of life for our Sailors and quality of work," said Stevens.
"Even when you are in times of uncertainty, you have to be able to interact with your Sailors, that's why these type of forums are so important" said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Daniel Womack, Naval Information Operations Command, Maryland. "They [CNO and MCPON] are our one voice that has a direct line to our officials in government and people in Washington. They can voice our concerns to the politicians who make policy.
"It shows that they [big navy] really care about their Sailors," said Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 3rd Class Noah Seymour, Naval Information Operations Command, Maryland. "I think it's great that they want to take the time out of their schedule to answer some of the questions that their Sailors have.
Originally planned as a birthday celebration all hands call for the Navy's 238th birthday Oct. 13, Greenert determined it was more important than ever to carry on with the event despite an ongoing government shutdown to get up-to-date information on the shutdown to Navy audiences.
This year's theme for the Navy birthday is "Defending America with Pride Since 1775."
"It's really inspiring that the people out there in the fleet get to see their questions and concerns answered in a real time environment by our top Navy leaders," said Gunner's Mate 1st Class Matthew Carue, U.S. Naval Academy, Marksman Training Unit.
People can participate in the online worldwide conversation about the Navy's birthday by using #USNavyBday.