TOKYO (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officers from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force came together for a night of celebration to highlight the 10th Anniversary of the JMSDF Command Master Chief program March 29.
The MCPO program was established in the U.S. Navy in 1967 and was then adopted by the JMSDF in 2003.
Since then, master chiefs from both navies have shared a great deal of knowledge and experience with their counterparts to develop an effective and successful master chief program within the JMSDF.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force Osamu Natsume began the celebration with opening remarks.
"The JMSDF Command Master Chief program was established 10 years ago, and this year marked the Maritime Self-Defense Force's 10 year anniversary," said Natsume. "I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation for all those who have made the great contributions and efforts to this program since its establishment. Thank you very much."
Commander Naval Forces Japan Command Master Chief Paul Kingsbury also expressed his deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve alongside the master chiefs of the JMSDF.
"Tonight is a very important milestone for the Kaijo Jieitai and my fellow Command Master Chiefs," said Kingsbury. "I'm convinced that our alliance, and more importantly, our friendships are stronger than ever. It's been my privilege and pleasure to have the opportunity to learn about the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and this great nation. It makes me a better leader, and it strengthens the very close and special relationship I share with the JMSDF senior enlisted leaders."
Over the last 10 years master chiefs of both navies have used their combined experience and access to senior officers to help make improvements to the enlisted advancement system, improve leadership skills, and improve enlisted retention while also improving the overall quality of navy life for their junior Sailors.
"It was a great privilege to attend the JMSDF CMC 10th anniversary celebration," said Master Chief Master-at-Arms Rudy Johnson, commander Naval Forces Japan senior enlisted leader. "I have been in Japan for seven years and I stay here because of the great relationships I have built with the JMSDF CMC's here in Yokosuka. Witnessing the changes over the last seven years and seeing how they are dealing with similar challenges that we dealt with in the past, just shows how much in common we have. I know that they will overcome those challenges just as we did and make the JMSDF CMC's an even stronger and more effective group of professionals."
To close the celebration, members of the JMSDF command master chiefs joined together to sing the unofficial song of the JMSDF "Off to Sea."
For more news from Commander, Naval Forces Japan, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnfj/.