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Senior enlisted leaders emphasize battle readiness during leadership symposium

04 February 2020

From MC2 Alex Corona

More than 120 senior enlisted leaders gathered in San Diego for the annual CNSP Command Senior Enlisted Leadership Symposium.

SAN DIEGO - Force Master Chief James Osborne, the top enlisted Sailor for Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP), hosted the annual CNSP Command Senior Enlisted Leadership Symposium for more than 120 senior enlisted leaders from the surface fleet at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Jan. 27-30.

A panel of guest speakers featuring Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith, U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief James Honea, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Fleet Master Chief Derrick Walters and other senior enlisted leaders discussed motivating Sailors, reinforcing standards, and the value of the enlisted Sailor, both past and present.

“We as a Chiefs Mess have to ask ourselves: have we done our part to prepare our Sailors for any challenge that we are presented with in the future?” said Smith. “Our Sailors need to be resilient and ready to fight.”

Smith spoke about the importance of keeping Sailors battle ready and how command leadership needs to lay the groundwork for successful integration of combat readiness.

“We need to know how our Sailors will respond when they get the call and it’s time to serve their country in the highest capacity,” said Smith. “It falls on us as chiefs to prepare them. We need to have those talks and knee-to-knee discussions to help them with what they are going through and prepare them to defend our nation.”

Smith and Honea also talked about the importance of remembering the sacrifices of previous service members.

“In the 32 years that I have been in the Navy I never thought I would see the day that an aircraft carrier would get named after an enlisted Sailor, Doris Miller,” said Honea. “He didn’t wake up that day thinking he was going to be a hero and that is the type of mindset our Sailors need to have.”

Honea said that the young Sailors today are prime examples how Miller’s memory can live on.

“Our Sailors need to be reminded that they are Sailors just like Miller and should be confident in their ability to bring the fight to enemy,” said Honea. “We as leadership need to translate this message to them and it begins at the deck plate level. They need to know that they are winners and are on the winning team.”

Battle readiness, a central theme for Vice Adm. Richard Brown, the commander of the Navy’s surface force, permeated many of the discussions and the Navy’s senior enlisted leadership were charged with giving their Sailors the confidence they need to perform at the highest level.

“At the end of the day this is about the Chiefs Mess and leadership up, down, and across,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, president, board of inspection and survey. “Our enlisted core is an asymmetric advantage we have. You are the influencers and for you, as the command master chiefs, material matters.”

As these senior enlisted leaders continue to face challenges presented by the new wave of warfighting, the ideals and values they’ve gained at this symposium are crucial to instill in junior Sailors.

"After four days of open forums and discussions with three of our most senior enlisted leaders, numbered fleet command master chiefs, command master chiefs from our Marine Corps components and my counterpart for the Atlantic Fleet, Force Master Chief Kevin Goodrich, I am confident in the senior enlisted leaders in our surface warfare community as we lean forward with Vice Adm. Brown's message to the Fleet that we ARE battle-minded crews and combat ready ships and we ARE prepared to fight today," said Osborne.

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