San Diego ATG First Class Petty Officer Association Hosts Inaugural Symposium
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elena Pence, Naval Surface Forces Pacific Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - More than 150 first class petty officers (FCPOs) from 15 different commands gathered at Admiral Baker Park for the inaugural southwest region First Class Petty Officer Integrated Regional Symposium of Training, June 3.

Afloat Training Group San Diego's (ATGSD) First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) sponsored the event, which included topics such as "accountability and responsibility," "leadership and mentoring," and "changes in the Navy and unity."

The agenda mainly focused on leadership resources with representatives from United Service Organization; Morale, Warfare, and Recreation; Fleet and Family Support Center; and Education Service Office.

"There are first class symposiums in the northwest region and on the east coast, but not every first class from the southwest region can make it there," said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Betty Moreno, Vice President of ATGSD FCPOA. "We wanted to bring the same information and resources to the first classes in San Diego."

Capt. Mike Taylor, commanding officer of ATGSD, kicked off the event. "From my prospective, I see a tremendous amount of potential here," said Taylor. "You are the leaders of our Navy, and I don't know where you will be or what uniform you will be wearing in three to four years, but by the fact that you are here now, you are on the upward track."

Naval Surface Force Career Counselor Master Chief (SW/AW) Laura Paquain, the event's guest speaker, spoke about the challenges of being a first class in today's Navy.

"As the Navy gets smaller, the role of a first class petty officer is going to become more important," said Paquain. "First classes are going to have to step up and take on a more integral role, to the point where they will be a chief or division officer in training from the minute they put on first class."

Attendees look forward to the next event, which organizers intend to host annually.

"The symposium was a great opportunity for the first classes from the southwest region to come together, network, and address issues of importance to the first class mess," said Air Traffic Controlman 1st Class (AW/SW) Scott Phelan, President of Tactical Air Group FCPOA. "I hope our numbers will continue to grow and our voice becomes even louder at the next symposium. It is not just about being a first class, it's about the corps of petty officers and building our strength."

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