MCPON Visits with Sailors in Kuwait


Story Number: NNS061025-12Release Date: 10/25/2006 2:01:00 PM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Rhonda Burke, Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA (NNS) -- Sailors serving in warfighter support roles in Kuwait received a visit from the Navy's top enlisted Sailor, Oct. 20-21.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa Jr. told the Sailors he is proud of their service and commitment to their unique mission.

"We have Sailors doing non-traditional jobs right now," Campa said. "I think in doing those jobs, we are asking Sailors to take skill sets that they normally use at shore or aboard ship and we are asking them to apply those in a foreign environment and our Sailors are meeting those challenges."

During his visit to Kuwait, Campa took the opportunity to fly over the Udairi Range where service members deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan receive convoy training in the heart of the Kuwait desert. He also learned more about the procedures used to process service members into and out of theatre operations, including customs inspections.

"I appreciate the job that you are all doing here in Kuwait that supports those on the ground," Campa said. "For the Sailors that are processing through here, you are putting a Navy face on the process, and that is so important."

One of the many units that Campa visited was the 2515th Air Ambulatory. The unit, comprised of Seahawk and Knighthawk helicopters from state-side squadrons, is currently serving a six-month deployment in Kuwait. They relieved an Army unit providing medical evacuation coverage for the North Persian Gulf, Kuwait and Southern Iraq.

Campa also spoke to Seabees who provide vital support services throughout Kuwait. He said he was proud of what they were doing.

"I don't have to tell Seabees about the history of what you do. The can-do spirit is your tradition," Campa said.

He told the Seabees their contributions are recognized throughout the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations from Kenya to Afghanistan.

"I was speaking to an Army general the other day, and he was complimenting the Sailors he has on the ground. He said, 'And who are these Seabees? They are incredible,'" Campa said.

The Navy's 11th MCPON also took the opportunity to see the work being done by Reservists who comprise the Naval Customs Battalions.

"This is a completely new mission for the Navy," he said. "You have embraced it and are doing a terrific job."

The customs battalion is responsible for processing baggage, as well as equipment and vehicles for stateside return.

Campa told Sailors that their service on the ground is making history and changing the future of the Navy.

"Fifty years from now, people will look back and ask, 'How did they do that?'" Campa told them. "Service to country and the sacrifice that comes with it is part of our tradition."

Campa also had the opportunity to greet 141 Sailors who had just completed processing and were prepared to board a plane for Afghanistan. The group - comprised of both active-duty and Reserve Sailors - will serve as Individual Augmentees (IAs) to embedded training teams.

"We are fighting a determined enemy, an insurgency that is highly adaptable and that is very determined to meet their mission," Campa said. "But, they are facing us and the United States of America, and they have to know that we are just as determined as they are."

There are currently more than 11,000 Sailors serving on the ground in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. This is Campa's first visit to the region since taking the helm as the Navy's senior enlisted leader in July.

For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.

 
 
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