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NEWS | Feb. 3, 2021

Fleet Master Chief Hosts Senior Enlisted Symposium

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Barnes

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) Fleet Master Chief Derrick A. Walters hosted Command Senior Enlisted Leaders (CSEL) from throughout the area of operations (AOR) during the first virtual leadership symposium of the year, Feb. 3, 2021.

During this quarterly symposium, 41 CSEL’s discussed key topics ranging from the Chief of Naval Operation’s Navigation Plan, the current operational environment, COVID-19, Culture of Excellence, and discussions with the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Adm. Robert Burke.

Walters was able to speak candidly about important topics along with offering feedback on the impact their leadership is making across the AOR.

“I am continually impressed by the resiliency and flexibility of our magnificent force,” said Walters. “COVID presented challenges to our force and their families, but they continue to answer all calls and exceed all expectations.”

Walters also said that leadership symposiums like this are an opportune time to reflect and apply the many lessons learned from 2020.

“We must use what we’ve learned to chart a new course for the future as it’s a key aspect of the leadership continuum,” said Walters.

One of the symposiums key speakers, U.S. Sixth Fleet Command Master Chief Johannes Gonzalez, discussed the importance of senior enlisted leadership and its role it plays in warfighting readiness. 

“It’s been a little bit over a year that we have been operating in this COVID environment,” said Gonzalez.  “But if you look at our operational picture today, we are doing it at full speed ahead; all because of your leadership.”

The symposium was held virtually to allow for social distancing and to maximize the participation of senior enlisted leaders from across the Sixth Fleet area of operations.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, 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.