USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
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Story Number: NNS070524-05
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Heather W. Hines, PCU Makin Island Public Affairs

-- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Joe R. Campa Jr. visited Sailors assigned to Pre-Commissioning Units (PCUs) Kidd (DDG 100), Makin Island (LHD 8), Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and Truxtun (DDG 103) on May 14.

The first stop on his trip was the PCU building here, home to more than 250 Sailors, for a brief tour of the facilities which had been rebuilt after being damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Afterward, MCPON proceeded to the Kidd fo'c'sle for an all-chief petty officer call with chiefs assigned to all four PCUs and Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP), Gulf Coast.

During his all hands call with the E6 and below, Sailors raised questions and provided MCPON suggestions to improve quality of life for personnel assigned to pre-commissioning units. MCPON also discussed how to stay competitive when assigned to pre-com duty while their counterparts are currently at sea or on individual augmentee.

“I’ve been a lot of places in the last 10 months, but this is probably one of the more interesting locations to see Sailors living and working,” said Campa, who became the 11th MCPON July 10. “I know this is a challenge, to bring a ship to life.”

Campa also talked with Sailors about professional growth and development, the Navy’s growing responsibility for nontraditional missions around the world and how his connection with the force gives him insight into how policies made by Navy leadership affect fleet Sailors.

“I’ve talked to Sailors in the mountains of Afghanistan, the deserts of Iraq and at sea all over the world, but I’ve got to admit this is the first time I’ve come to this environment to see the hard work you’re doing; and again I want to thank you for that. It’s important what you’re doing and I think you can see that as the ships start to come online.”

“I think the MCPON visit will enlighten the naval leadership on the new challenges set forth for Sailors assigned to a pre-com,” said Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) Fireman (SW) Filiberto Tavarez. ”There were a lot of good questions and from what I’ve seen; these concerns are felt by all sailors here. I really feel confident that we will see some resolved in the near future.”

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