By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Angela Grube, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Northwest
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa Jr. traveled to the Pacific Northwest for a series of visits, ceremonies and all hands calls April 28 and 29.
Campa, who served as Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay senior enlisted advisor before taking office last July, spent several hours outside Seattle at Fort Lewis where Sailors receive three weeks of training prior to departure for JTF-GTMO.
Campa observed training and spoke to the members of the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion.
“Guantanamo Bay is an operational environment just as important as the frontlines of Iraq or Afghanistan,” Campa told them. “It’s a different type of frontline, but just as important to our success in the global war on [terrorism].”
Campa also conducted an all-hands call for Naval Base (NB) Kitsap E-6 and below Sailors.
“I came here to visit Sailors, to talk to them and get some feedback,” said Campa. “That is really what gives me a seat at the table with our Navy leadership, my connection with the fleet."
He said he was glad to have the opportunity to visit the region and see the work Sailors are doing there.
"Since I’ve taken this office I haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Northwest," said Campa. "Our forces are doing great things out here and I have to learn a little bit more about that, especially this first year
At the end of his first day in the Northwest, he also visited with the senior enlisted on Naval Base Kitsap.
“The deckplate feedback is so important because it tells us how our policies are playing out,” said Campa. “When I get feedback from them, it lets me see the unintended consequences of our policies, the second-and third-order effects. That’s the real value of all-hands calls. Whether it’s with the chiefs or with E-6 and below, I get a lot out of all of them.”
Campa was also the keynote speaker at the Submarine Birthday Ball.
“My remarks focused on heritage, because we are celebrating 107 years of the submarine force and that proud legacy of service that represents this force,” said Campa. “We discussed the history and how that history has built the phenomenal submarine force that we have today.”
Overall, Campa said he wanted to impart one message to all Sailors.
“It’s been a great visit and I appreciate all the hard work that our Sailors are doing. I appreciate the tremendous support from the families in this area. Thank you to all our Sailors that are serving out here,” he said.
“It is great to be able to hear our issues are being looked at from the very top level,” said Seaman Michael Thomas, Naval Base Kitsap. “We always hear rumors about it trickle down the chain of command, but to hear it straight from him makes it more solid. To hear it from the "top dog" gave it more validity.”