SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) Vice Adm. Bill Moran and Fleet Master Chief (AW/SW) April D. Beldo kicked off their U.S. Pacific Fleet tour with an all-hands call with Sailors aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).
Moran and Beldo opened with praise to the crew for their dedication to mission readiness.
"First, let me start off by expressing how proud we are of what this ship has done," said Moran. "You came off a 7-month deployment and went right into a maintenance period, and it is very rare that we see a big deck come out of a maintenance period on track for the Basic Phase training cycle. Makin Island has set a standard for big decks because you did exactly that."
Moran also took a moment to acknowledge Makin Island's success in Sailor retention.
"We noticed the gold anchors on the bow and your captain just told me he got just this morning that those anchors are staying gold as you succeeded again in your ninth consecutive award for retention excellence," said Moran. "Makin Island is on a run here and it's pretty impressive."
"Your skipper gave me a quote that I've never heard before," Moran explained. "He said, 'I'm not interested in "high" retention; I'm interested in the "right" retention. If you get retention right, you're going to get the numbers you need but you're also going to get the quality of people that you want.'"
Moran continued, "That's what Fleet Master Chief Beldo and I have been working on for the last two-and-a-half years; putting policies in place and giving tools to empower Commanding Officers on the waterfront. We recognize the value of the on-scene leadership and day-to-day decisions by our waterfront triads. These policies are designed for COs, XOs, and CMCs, as they deal with the challenges that come up in the personal and professional lives of our Sailors and their families," said Moran.
Moran answered questions from the crew on a variety of topics including pay and benefits, as well as the revamping of the Navy's Command Advancement Program (CAP). The Navy integrated the CAP into the newly expanded Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP), giving commanding officers and their chains of command more flexibility in advancing eligible Sailors both at sea and shore commands.
"Meritorious Advancement is just that, it is performance based," said Moran. "We want command triads to meritoriously advance Sailors that are knocking it out of the park. The advancement quotas of CAP and MAP are still the same. The difference is that under MAP we know precisely who is advanced and exactly which rates are advantaged or disadvantaged as a result. We know there are some rates that rarely go to sea and aren't given the opportunity to be meritoriously advanced. So, we're going to crack open the valve on shore this year and see how that goes."
CNP also informed Makin Island Sailors about some new initiatives the Navy expects to launch this year including a new portal called "My Navy Portal" that will provide a one-stop location for Sailors to obtain information, as well as Billet Based Detailing to assist Sailors in finding the right fit for their next duty assignment.
At the conclusion of the event, Sailors shared their thoughts about CNP's visit.
"Receiving the information about the Navy's latest changes and updates to policies straight from CNP drastically increases validity and eliminates the 'hear say'," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class (AW) Victor Romero, a Makin Island Sailor from Orlando, Florida.
"CNP and Fleet Beldo make a great team and were very approachable," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW) Igbo Ogonna, from Frederick, Maryland. "It was refreshing to be addressed by a three-star admiral and a fleet master chief who literally walked on to the deckplates and engaged with us as shipmates."
Moran and Beldo's visit to Makin Island was the first stop of their tour of multiple commands throughout the U.S. Pacific Fleet where they are scheduled to meet with Sailors stationed in San Diego, Yokosuka, Japan, Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/