By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Abraham Essenmacher
STUTTGART, Germany (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) wrapped up his eight-day European trip July 19, by having a luncheon with senior enlisted leaders and an all hands call with Sailors in Stuttgart, Germany.
MCPON(SS/SW) Rick D. West visited various remote commands and spoke to Sailors in London, Brussels and Germany during his visit.
"The Sailors I've met and spoke with are accomplishing great things while away from home in hard to reach places," said West. "They are representing our U.S. forces with great ambassadorship!"
While in Brussels, MCPON visited with Sailors from the Navy Element of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and following the all hands call, he joined them for a cookout.
"Having an informal get together with Sailors in a remote area is important and is a great way to reach across and communicate with our Navy's greatest assets … our Sailors," said West.
MCPON also traveled to Stuttgart, Germany, to talk with Sailors attached to joint services.
"I was excited over the fact that MCPON West came to visit us here in Europe, and his presence here let me know that we are not lost Sailors, we do have a voice and he is there to listen," said Yeoman 2nd Class Joy T. Paetzold. "MCPON urged all Sailors to strive for their best no matter what the odds. He said he understood the current changes in the economy had influenced the Navy's shift in retention, but encouraged us to keep professional and educational growth a part of our daily routine in order to expand opportunities for future career options."
"The Sailors stationed across Europe are working in critical positions in order to continue operations, helping to ensure our Navy continues to be a global force for good, so I feel we owe it to them to make sure they are getting attention from leadership too," said West.
During MCPON's visit with Sailors, they had the chance to ask him questions and get frank responses from the top. Questions ranged from future physical training uniforms to Perform-To-Serve and manning levels.
"I learned from MCPON's visit that Navy policies and programs are continuously being reviewed and he was straight to the point regarding the high retention and low attrition within the Navy," said Interior Telecommunications Specialist 1st Class (SW) Karen Williams.
"When we as leaders take on board what Sailors' needs are, and the challenges they're facing, it's important for us to give those items honest responses, and they deserve that," said West.
MCPON will return to Washington where he will provide information from his Fleet engagements to senior leaders to help improve Navy operations. Fleet engagements are intended to provide senior leadership with a frontline assessment of Sailors and what they are doing in the Fleet.