SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A group of 52 first class petty officers from commands throughout Navy Region Southwest graduated from "The Foundry" Class 003 on board the USS Midway (CV 41) Museum in San Diego, April 17.
During the week of activities participants took part in leadership training, mentoring sessions, physical fitness events and Navy history and heritage activities both on board Midway and in the local area including a trip to the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in nearby Point Loma, California.
"Leaders are not born, they are forged, they are created," said Command Master Chief Joe Grgetich, the senior mentor for The Foundry 003 class and keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony. "During the past week these Sailors received leadership insight from both civilian and military leaders."
Grgetich spoke in detail about how The Foundry works with, but doesn't replace current Chief Petty Officer 365 training for first class petty officers.
"These graduates will continue to begin to inspire a sense of speak, share and shadow in every Sailor they guide, mentor and train," said Grgetich. "You can ask each of them about speak, share and shadow and why this is a requirement for leadership."
Grgetich also recognized the committee chairman, Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Dean Ferguson, and the other chief petty officers who served as mentors for the program.
"It was a team effort, and I had a fantastic team that helped me put The Foundry together," said Ferguson. "Thank you very much to this week's mentors for all your hard work and effort that you put in with these students. It definitely shows in the final product we have here today."
While each participant came aboard Midway with their own expectations for The Foundry, all walked off the ship with a greater understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader in today's Navy.
"I expected to learn about leadership, heritage and taking my career to the next level," said Firecontrolman 1st Class (SW/AW) Brandon York, currently assigned to the staff of Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. "The best thing I took away from the training is the importance of communication skills. Communication is the basis of good leadership."
York said the chief petty officers who served as mentors for the group played an invaluable role during the training.
"The role of the mentor for our group was to guide us through any confusion we might have had during the course," said York. "The mentor always gave good input to guide us in the right direction."
Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW) Kent Hall, assigned to the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit San Diego-North Island, was named as the honor graduate for The Foundry Class 003.
"It really means a lot to me and to be recognized by my peers is a greater compliment than I could ever imagine," said Hall. "I learned more this week than I have learned anywhere, ever. It really put my life into perspective."
Hall said he has been working hard for a long time in hopes of being selected to the rank of chief petty officer.
"It's going to happen when it happens," said Hall. "But I could never be more proud to be a first class petty officer in the United States Navy than I am right now."
Sponsored by the Navy Region Southwest Chief Petty Officers Foundation, The Foundry is in its third year of existence and was established to help first class petty officers develop into stronger deckplate leaders.
The next class for The Foundry is scheduled to take place Oct. 11-16. For more information, and to apply for admission, visit www.thefoundry365.org
For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnsp/.