NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick D. West finished a three-day fleet engagement trip to Norfolk, Va., and surrounding area commands Feb. 9.
During the visit, West toured commands and spoke with Sailors stationed at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Norfolk Navy Yard, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Naval Station Norfolk, Naval Air Station Oceana, and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center.
"I'm jealous of the young Sailors in this area," said West. "You have exciting times headed your way and I would start my career over if I could to have the opportunities you will have during your time. As Sailors in our great Navy, you are working day and night to keep us moving forward and I appreciate everything you do."
During the trip, Sailors had the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers from the Navy's highest ranking enlisted member. Questions ranged from Perform-To-Serve (PTS) and Enlisted Retention Board (ERB) to rumors of extended deployments.
"PTS is a big deal and it does not begin nine months before you change commands, it starts the day you arrive on board," said West. "As Sailors in the Navy today, you have to trust but verify. Trust that your command submitted your annual evaluation but verify it made it in to your record."
MCPON also sat down with chief petty officers from the various commands during the trip to receive feedback from the Navy's enlisted leaders on the ground. Many expressed concerns for their Sailors' futures in the Navy.
"The CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) has made it clear to leadership and Congress the most important asset the Navy has is our Sailors, and I assure you this is fact," said West. "Some of our Sailors face a challenging future, and as chiefs, it is our duty and privilege to assist these individuals toward success."
Fleet engagements are intended to provide senior leadership with a frontline assessment of Sailors and what they are doing in the Fleet.