Fleet Master Chief James Honea, fleet master chief of U.S. Pacific Fleet, talks with forward deployed naval forces command master chiefs during the MCPON Executive Leadership Symposium. (U.S. Navy/MCC Barry Hirayama)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief led command master chiefs from units across the forward deployed naval forces in the first overseas MCPON Executive Leadership Symposium, April 18-20, at Fleet Activities Yokosuka.

Fleet Master Chief James Honea, U.S. Pacific Fleet's top enlisted, took the MCPON's Executive Leadership Symposium on the road overseas for the first time in the training's history. This was the first time a symposium was held outside the fleet locations like San Diego or Norfolk.

More than 20 command master chief petty officers (CMDCMs), including U.S. 7th Fleet and Navy Region Japan's top enlisted, attended the symposium to train, discuss, and combine their knowledge and experience to improve the readiness and effectiveness of Sailors and fleet operations.

"This course curriculum is geared to provide command master chiefs formal training on what is expected of them, and what to expect as they continue to climb the ladder into the flag level," said Command Master Chief Toby Ruiz, class mentor for symposium.

Ruiz explained the symposium is an extension of the chief petty officer's training program and encourages commands to reach out and participate.

"It is very eye opening to learn about what it takes to be a CMC at the flag officer or general officer level," said U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Forces Staff Command Master Chief Adrian Watkins.

"Understanding the bigger picture of strategic thinking, I have learned a whole lot. I have a lot of homework, but this experience has been invaluable for me and in turn my mess as I go back," said Watkins.

The need for the symposium was first recognized by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens, and a group of fleet master chief petty officers, who saw a need for more training and information sharing between CMDCMs around the fleet. It has continued into Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano's time at the job.

The symposium featured guest speakers including Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, Commander Task Force 70 Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, and U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief James Honea.

"It was an honor to be invited to be here and hear from the leaders and their expectations of the command master chiefs," said Command Master Chief Jeff Hineman, USS Antietam (CG 54) command master chief.

"It's great to have this training here in Yokosuka and have such great representation from so many naval communities," Hineman added.

Participants in the MCPON Executive Leadership Symposium pause for a photo together, April 19. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Zhiwei Tan)