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Navy Chief Petty Officer Training

By Senior Chief Equipment Operator Matthew P. Dooley, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, ALFA Company

The Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Induction Season is finishing up across the entire Navy, both for active duty and reserve component Sailors. Chiefs from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan are fully engaged in the training and development of newly selected Chief Petty Officers.  In fact, the year-long training process is broken up into three phases of training and is well known fleet-wide as CPO 365.

Phase One:
Generally begins on September 17th of each year and commences the training and professional relationship building between Chief Petty Officers and First Class Petty Officers.  It emphasizes the vital role each play in the chain of command as well as guidance to prepare these “Prospective Chief Petty Officers” (all FCPO’s are truly Prospective Chief Petty Officers) for increased leadership and more demanding assignments.   It fosters team building, community service and describes the expectations and accountability that come with becoming “The Chief”.

Phase Two:
Begins when board-eligible results are released and capitalizes on what was learned in phase one further preparing board eligible Sailors for their possible selection to CPO.

Phase three:
Known as Induction and is the final training for those selected in each of their respective ratings. This phase places great emphasis on leading Sailors, managing programs, enforcing standards and becoming active contributors in the Chiefs Mess. During this very difficult, yet rewarding process, the selectees learn an extensive amount of information about naval heritage and traditions, physical fitness, leadership, programs and policy as well as completing an extensive Personal Qualification Standard (PQS) and culminating with their pinning ceremony, this year on September 14th.

Chief Petty Officers (CPO’s) are often referred to as the “Backbone of the Navy”, a title earned through their 119 years of proven leadership, extensive technical knowledge and loyalty to their Navy and our nation. Through this solid foundation the Chief Petty Officer Mess at-large is a key enabler to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral Jonathan Greenerts “Tenets” which are outlined in the publication “Sailing Directions.”

These tenets are “Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready”.  The Chiefs are the vital link that translates intent into action on the deckplates.  Chief Petty Officers are the technical experts who provide the training necessary for Sailors to keep their skills sharp and focused, relevant and ready.   A warfighting first focus must be constantly polished and refined through daily engagement at the deckplate level.

One way in which Chiefs accomplish this is through their shared knowledge and teamwork abilities.  Simply take a look at the diversity and experience in a CPO Mess.  The collection of skills, previous platforms assigned, NEC’s held and special duty assignments completed all bring a vast array of cutting edge “been there, done that” experience to the table.  This experience is then passed on to Sailors through daily interaction and training.  They focus specifically on command-wide impact and seek to “make ready for sea” at every opportunity possible.

With ever changing operating environments Chiefs are constantly adapting and training their Sailors on emerging requirements.  They understand that maintaining a forward deployed, responsive force is essential to deterring aggression worldwide.  Chief Petty Officers contribute immensely in this area.

Collectively speaking, the “Chief” has generally been deployed multiple times, completed countless, intensive sea duty tours and understands the importance of well-trained, highly motivated Sailors necessary to bring the fight to the enemy.

Additionally, the Chief Petty Officer plays an integral role in the training, mentorship and development of both Enlisted and Junior Officer Sailors.   He or she must execute the mission while simultaneously taking care of Sailors so they are ready at a moment’s notice when called upon to carry out our missions with exacting detail.

They must develop their subordinates beyond their own expectations and critically measure themselves through the success and readiness of their Sailors.  Simply being well trained is “only the beginning” according to Chief Construction Mechanic Dan Bell, assigned to NMCB 11.

“One of our major roles as a Chief Petty Officer is to ensure the readiness of our command and our Sailors.  They must have all administrative requirements in order to include power of attorneys, wills, passports, ID cards and Family Care Plans to name a few critical items,” outlined Bell.  “Additionally, financial fitness and overall family readiness are key areas that are absolutely paramount to success.”

Another area that Chief Petty Officers drive mission and Sailor readiness is being “Brilliant on the Basics” in the areas of Command Sponsorship, Command Indoctrination Programs, Career Development Boards (CDBs), Ombudsman Program, Mentorship and Recognition of our Sailors.

These key programs increase the readiness of Sailors, our Navy Families and ensure we exemplify the tenet “Be Ready”.   So far, this year’s CPO 365 training has been a resounding success.

Since 1893 CPO’s have been steadfast supporters of their commanders, their fellow CPO’s and Sailors alike.

With a sharp focus on the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy’s (MCPONs), Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles the Chiefs continue to uphold our Navy traditions while remaining anchored in a results-driven mindset of warfighting first, operating forward and always ready!

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