By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE- CNA) Fleet Master Chief Derrick A. Walters welcomed senior enlisted leaders from 17 different nations for the 2020 Europe and Africa Senior Enlisted Leadership Symposium (EASELS) held at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy. Feb. 16-22.
“EASELS gave participants time to focus on mutual concerns and opportunities to enhance the skillsets of our collective forces, setting up the CNE-CNA theater for future maritime cooperation,” said Walters. “The number of nations who sent representatives to this symposium is a tangible demonstration of the international commitment to Europe and Africa and the importance of these regions when it comes to increased maritime security and sustainment of global commerce.”
During EASELS participants had to opportunity to share experiences with each other, develop relationships, and get to know their allies and partners in the theater. They also had to opportunity to interact with notable members of the U.S. military, including Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith, and Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Phillip L. Easton , U.S. European Command Senior Enlisted Leader,
“I’m very excited to be here because I got to meet a lot of senior enlisted and get new ideas that will help me develop my senior enlisted back in Ghana,” said Ghanaian Master Chief Gilbert Mishiame, master chief petty officer of the Ghanaian Navy. “[EASELS] afforded me the opportunity to get new ideas and different points of view from sister navies.”
To facilitate an information exchange, participants visited the U.S. 6th Fleet Blue Ridge-class command and control ship, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), the 6th Fleet Maritime Operations Center (MOC) and participated in team building challenges ranging from friendly physical training sessions, to small-group discussions where participants had the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of seasoned leaders.
“The modern day military is in a period of rapid transition – this counts for us, and our adversaries,” said Walters. “In order to get ahead of them in the land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains, we need to deliver a combat-credible maritime force, ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice, and we can’t do this without our senior NCOs. I am really proud of our ability to execute a symposium like EASELs, and I’m even prouder of the team of senior NCOs serving across the globe and the lasting friendships we’ve already formed.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.