Makin Island's CPO 365 Program Working to Build Better Leaders in 2013 
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW/SCW) Ronald Gutrdige, USS Makin Island Public Affairs  
SAN DIEGO - Two months into 2013, first class petty officers assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) are well on their way to becoming effective chief petty officers (CPO) courtesy of the ship's CPO 365 program.

The CPO 365 training program was launched in 2010 under then Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West.

Current MCPON Michael D. Stevens revised the program for 2012-2013, amending course curriculum and reinforcing a year-round training schedule for all first class petty officers.

As part of the Makin Island program, the ship's more than 120 first class petty officers are learning about naval history and heritage, Navy policies and how to improve their own leadership skills on an almost weekly basis.

"CPO 365 is another avenue for our CPO mess to train and challenge the first class mess to become more effective leaders," said Makin Island Command Master Chief Steven Alt. "The yearlong training will help provide them with a solid foundation that supports success as a CPO."

Alt said Makin Island's first class petty officers are divided into eight teams led by a group of master, senior and chief petty officers to make the training more in-depth and give participants a smaller group in which to discuss Navy and command policies.

Alt said that another interesting aspect of the Makin Island CPO 365 program is that each of the eight teams has a unique team name.

"Each team is named after a famous CPO throughout naval history," said Alt. "We hope this will help promote as sense of heritage in addition to honor, courage and commitment during their training."

Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) (SW/AW) John Strickland, Makin Island's CPO 365 coordinator, said the new and improved CPO 365 training program is a year-round tool for first class petty officers to learn how to operate at the CPO level.

"It's important to continually train our first class petty officers the entire year because they are the future of the CPO Mess," said Strickland. "It is our duty to ensure they are trained and mentored, ready to take on the challenges of being a CPO. It's also a perfect way for CPO's to stay current on day to day issues, instructions and polices."

In addition to classroom training Strickland said Makin Island's CPO 365 program also places a focus on physical fitness and community service. He said these two focus areas help to promote a "team" learning environment.

Makin Island's first class petty officers taking part in the program said they welcome the opportunity to learn how to become better leaders.

"CPO 365 training is reinforcing standards that I have learned throughout my career, giving me tools to assist junior Sailors, and helping build camaraderie in the first class community," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (AW) Renee Brown.

Brown said the program also provides first class petty officers a means of gaining more knowledge on basic Navy policies that will help them when they become a CPO.

"I think that it this important because not every first class has the mentorship and guidance they need to be successful as they advance through the ranks," added Brown.

Makin Island recently returned from a seven-month deployment and was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved more than $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship's lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island's maiden deployment prove the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.

This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.

The ship is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability (PMA) at Naval Base San Diego. During this seven month PMA period, Makin Island will receive numerous equipment upgrades, modernization, and general repairs. The PMA period will also ensure the ship will reach the full service life of at least 40 years.
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