USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
Makin Island Sailors Participate in CPO 365 Program During Deployment
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) David P. McKee, USS Makin Island Public Affairs
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea - Chief petty officers (CPO) and first class petty officers aboard USS Makin Island (LHD 8) joined together Dec. 14, for their first "CPO 365" leadership training session of the current deployment.

The CPO 365 program, established by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West , is a three-phase training process to instill leadership skills and guiding principles to first class petty officer throughout the year.

Makin Island's CPO 365 program, currently in phase one, is designed for all first class petty officers currently on board. Phase two is scheduled to begin in the spring following the release of the chief petty officer board-eligible list and is divided into two categories; one for those who are board-eligible and the other for those who are not.

Phase three, which is part of the CPO induction process, is reserved for first class petty officers who have been selected to become chiefs and begins with the release of the selection message.

"This program is to help guide and strengthen your leadership skills through training, which are important in building a foundation that will ensure mission readiness," said Makin Island Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Steve Alt.

Alt said Makin Island CPOs will be facilitating bi-weekly training sessions on a variety of topics including writing evaluations and awards, conducting career development boards and developing lesson plans. During these training sessions emphasis will be placed on interaction and participation instead of the passive process of viewing audio and visual presentations.

"This is not intended to be death by lecture," said Alt. "It's an opportunity to discuss and mentor on critical leadership topics."

The first meeting focused on the leadership triad of the division officer, division CPO and leading petty officer. Those who attended learned how effective communication between the leadership triad is essential to leading junior Sailors and overall mission accomplishment.

Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist (SW/W) Cheri Galvez, USS Makin Island CPO 365 coordinator, said the CPO mess on board Makin Island knows that first classes are their legacy, so they are dedicated to guiding them in the right direction.

"The intent of CPO 365 is to strengthen the relationship between the CPO mess and the first class petty officers," said Galvez. "The training topics are designed to open dialogue on important leadership topics that directly affect the Sailors assigned to USS Makin Island."

Galvez said she believes any opportunity to learn from the experiences of others will lead to becoming a better leader.

Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class (AW/SW) Edward Cook, who attended the meeting, said he looks forward to the program helping prepare him to become a CPO.

"Starting at this level of the training will help first class petty officers live up to the expectation to act like chiefs and deckplate leaders," said Cook. "Even if you are not an LPO [leading petty officer], you can still contribute to the leadership triad."

Cook said he hopes to take lessons from the CPO mess and apply them to the first class mess.

"I hope upon completion of this training we operate as a unified first class mess the way CPOs operate in their mess," said Cook.

Makin Island's CPO 365 program is scheduled to take place throughout the current deployment and continue well after the ship's return to homeport.

Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.

This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps which will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus' 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.

Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is named in honor of the World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, 2nd Raider Battalion on Japanese occupied Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name "USS Makin Island."

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