GULF OF ADEN (NNS) -- Chief petty officers and first class petty officers aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) held a CPO 365 Phase One speed mentorship event in the ship's Chiefs Mess, May 5.
"I wanted to bring together a diverse group of leadership to ultimately help foster the mentoring environment on board Boxer," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Omar Lee, command mentorship program coordinator. "I want to inspire actual action, getting folks more involved in mentoring, especially while we're on deployment."
This year, Boxer CPOs and FCPOs were divided into three separate teams known as Unity, Service and Navigation. These teams were designed to challenge one another physically and intellectually, and to hone the basic tenets of teamwork, time management, and tenacity throughout the year.
Team Unity's nearly 40 FCPOs were the first group to participate in the hour-long speed-mentoring format. Sailors asked three teams of chiefs as many questions as possible within a five minute period, and then cycled through the remaining teams.
"The engagement was awesome," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Christian Smith. "We had the chance to be in an environment that wasn't so professional and uptight. That allowed us the opportunity to actually get to know the chiefs, senior chiefs and master chiefs on a more personal and open level, rather than an exclusively professional level."
The purpose of the speed mentoring event was to strengthen the mentor-to-protege relationship while also facilitating and encouraging the active involvement of Sailors and leaders throughout the command who have yet to experience the chance to interact with several chief petty officers one-on-one.
"I did speed-mentoring last deployment when I ran CPO 365 and it was highly successful," said Lee. "I thought it was a good idea to reenergize the first classes, and Sailors have been asking for it ever since."
"This was very beneficial. Sailors often tend to cling onto people they're comfortable with or someone who they share similarities with," added Smith. "With speed mentoring, we had the chance to speak with different chiefs we wouldn't normally speak to on a regular basis."
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Michael Smyder, Air Department V-3 Division leading petty officer, said he enjoyed the structure of the event, and used it to continue guiding himself on the right path.
"The fast pace helped push the event," said Smyder, "On with the conversation starters and jump right into the meat with no beating around the bush."
Topics included leadership and management, career progression, how to solve common problems, and advice on how to become well-rounded leaders, all from the perspective of Boxer's most experienced enlisted Sailors.
"It was crazy how well this was presented to the first class petty officers," said Smith. "I would love to do this with our junior Sailors."
Speed mentoring may grow into the beginning of a long-term mentor-protege relationship while also inspiring frontline leaders to engage their junior Sailors to pass along advice, experiences and expertise.
The first event will be followed during the next two weeks with Team Navigation and Team Service mentorship engagements to ensure every Boxer FCPO has a chance to interact with senior enlisted leadership. The unfettered access to senior enlisted leadership from across the command may also inspire future leaderships to mentor others.
Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
For more news from USS Boxer, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.