U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief Marco Ramirez speaks with senior enlisted leaders at PACFLT headquarters during the Senior Enlisted Leadership Training Symposium. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian M. Wilbur)

PEARL HARBOR - Senior enlisted leaders met at U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) headquarters for the annual Senior Enlisted Leadership Training Symposium (SELTS) March 23-25.

The symposium allows senior enlisted leaders from around the Pacific Fleet to gather and review the effectiveness of current policies and ways to improve mission readiness in open-forum discussions. It also provides an opportunity for the participants to interact with U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief Marco Ramirez and various flag officers.

"The tyranny of distance in the Pacific is so massive and a lot of these senior enlisted leaders are so spread out," said Ramirez. "So the main objective of SELTS is to bring them all together so that they can look at each other and get to know one another and discuss the issues that we have and to see how PACFLT runs. This allows them to get an understanding of what can be done better to support the Navy's mission."

Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, PACFLT deputy commander, spoke with SELTS participants about the importance of synchronization between commands and understanding the hierarchy of guidance as well as the important roles that each of these leaders play at their commands.

"You know what right looks like and that's why you're here...you bring an incredible source of coaching and mentorship that's important for the command climate, and the functioning and wholeness of the team," said Girrier. "That's a huge part of your job that goes beyond your technical expertise."

Girrier went on to add that the best way to take care of their team is to bring all of their Sailors home as winners, which is what their families and America are counting on.

A main focus of the discussions was Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) and the importance of Sailors being the first line of defense.

"Bystander intervention is one of the big things going on: shipmates looking after shipmates," said Todd Schafer, PACFLT executive director and chief of staff. "We have to continue working on that. We need to get to the left of some of these problems and stop them before they happen. We have to spread that message as leadership."

The symposium provides the leaders the opportunity to assemble and exchange ideas, knowledge and personal insights to ensure they have a common objective to strengthen Sailor and mission readiness.

"One of the most beneficial parts of SELTS is when you bring in all the senior enlisted leaders from other branches and you can get a better idea of what's going on between the branches," said Command Master Chief John Ullery, commander, Navy Region Hawaii. "You get to understand some the challenges these leaders face and we can all see what each other's challenges are and hopefully find a way to collectively solve them to better support our commands and Sailors."

Over a span of three days, the symposium included team building exercises, discussions about updating instructions, and CPO 365 training.