Release Date: 12/12/2008 6:21:00 PM
By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Bill Houlihan, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West took the helm of the enlisted force as the Navy's 12th MCPON, receiving the ceremonial cutlass from MCPON (SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa, Jr., in a change-of-office ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard Dec. 12.
The ceremony marked the end of a 29-year career for Campa, who had served as MCPON since July 10, 2006. During his time as MCPON, Campa emphasized a return to "deckplate leadership" for the Navy's chief petty officer community and stressed the importance of infusing the fleet with a sense of the Navy's heritage, traditions and rich history.
"With a singular drive, he infused in our chief petty officers' mess a renewed spirit of heritage, service and high standards," said Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, who served as the ceremony's guest speaker. "He formed the MCPON's Leadership Mess to coalesce fleetwide chiefs around those renewed standards and expectations. He created and enforced The Chief Petty Officer Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles."
Campa wasted little time beginning a process he referred to as "re-setting the Navy's Chief's Mess." He introduced the Chiefs' Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles (MVGP) just two months after taking office then used that document as a foundation for a series of CPO Mess changes and recommendations to senior Navy leadership.
During the 30-month period he was in office, Campa deliberately introduced the MVGP to the Navy and inserted the language into Chief Petty Officer Selection Board precepts, as well as the recently developed new CPO evaluation.
He was instrumental in the decision to rescind a policy requiring an associate degree for selection to senior chief and also successfully pushed for opening up advancement exams to Sailors serving in theaters such as Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.
Campa discussed none of his personal accomplishments during his retirement remarks, though, instead focusing on the gratitude he felt at the opportunities the Navy has provided him and the memories he'll take with him of his years as a United States Sailor.
"In the years to come I can guarantee you that the Sailor in me will never fade," said Campa. "I'll miss everything about our great Navy. I'll miss the Sailors with their energy, their swagger and their courage to speak their minds. I'll miss the culture and the attitude that is ours and ours alone, and I'll miss the sea more than I care to admit."
West, joined the Navy in 1981 and most recently served as Fleet Master Chief for Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk. He had previously served as Pacific Fleet Master Chief. In his remarks, he discussed the honor associated with leading an entire enlisted force.
"You all exemplify what it is to be a United States Sailor," said West. "Honor, courage and commitment.
"You are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; are on I-As in Cuba, Africa and Bahrain and are forward deployed on ships and other duty stations throughout the world. I will honor your commitment by upholding the ideal of service that my predecessors have established."
Campa and West, in a tribute to CPO heritage, accepted the ceremonial cutlass from Ima Black, widow of the Navy's first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, MCPON Del Black. Campa made Mrs. Black an honorary master chief in 2007.
For more news from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, visit www.navy.mil/local/mcpon/.
For more news from Chief of Naval Operations, visit www.navy.mil/local/cno/.
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