SAN DIEGO -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) July 17, during a four-day trip to the Navy Region Southwest.
"It was a great opportunity for my Sailors to hear from the most senior enlisted leader. His billet was created to be the link between the junior Sailors and senior leadership,” said USS Gridley Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Mark Nieswiadomy. "These generations of Sailors are well connected so this is a great opportunity to ask questions and have their voices heard."
During an all hands call with Sailors aboard Gridley, Stevens spoke about budget changes, Navy-wide moral, and the return of the Navy ball caps. He also held a question and answer session to received feedback from the Sailors.
"It is important for me to get out and about to hear what is on the minds of Sailors and their families," said Stevens. "When I get back to Washington D.C. and offer my advice and recommendations to those things that are going to better help our Navy, I am doing so with what Sailors and their families have told me."
Stevens asked the Sailors to pull out their wheel books or notepads and write down his three rules to live by.
"No matter who you are, what rank you are, or what job you hold in the Navy, I say work hard, stay out of trouble, and be a good and decent person. That's what I call the 'Foundation of Success,” said Stevens.
He also took time after the all hands call to speak with junior enlisted Sailors.
"The visit from the MCPON was a really awesome experience. He was very personable and listened to what we had to say," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Todd Protonentis. "Knowing that he started as a Seaman and worked his way to the highest enlisted position really inspires me and gives me faith that I can do the same."
While in San Diego, Stevens not only visited Gridley, he also spent time on the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and he made a trip to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to visit with Sailors and Marines.
The MCPON serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Navy and as the advisor to the chief of naval Operations and to the chief of naval personnel in matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families.