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NEWS | June 24, 2021

Fleet Master Chief Hosts Senior Enlisted Symposium

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trey Fowler

U.S Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) Fleet Master Chief Derrick A. Walters hosted a Command Senior Enlisted Leaders (CSEL) Leadership Symposium in Naples, Italy, June 15, 2021.

The one-day leadership symposium consisted of 47 command master chief petty officers and senior enlisted leaders (SELs) from around the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations.

“This symposium focused on two key elements that are critical to our mission success; and that’s understanding the operational environment and the warfighters that operate in it,” said Walters.

Attendees gained perspective on personnel development, threats facing our military, and staff functions and relationships.

“First half of the day we got to engage directly with Joint Force Senior Enlisted Leaders from U.S. European Command (EUCOM), U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and Special Operations Command Europe on the importance of our operations and activities towards Great Power Competition,” said Walters. “Second half was dedicated on our most precious resource, our people. With informative discussions with Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith, Fleet Master Chief Wes Koshoffer, and Command Master Chief Rich James.”

Another one of the symposium’s guest speakers, U.S. Sixth Fleet Command Master Chief Johannes Gonzalez, discussed the importance of senior enlisted leadership and why it’s pertinent to regularly engage deck plate leaders.

“The value of the Command Senior Enlisted Symposium lies in the opportunity to align and gain perspective on what is important to the Navy in this challenging operational environment,” said Gonzalez. “These deckplate leaders have the power to enhance operational readiness as well as positively impact Sailors and their families.”

Gonzalez also said that it was great to host the EUCOM Senior Enlisted Advisor Command Sgt. Maj. Phil Easton and AFRICOM Senior Enlisted Advisor Sgt. Maj. Rich Thresher.

“Both Easton and Thresher gave fantastic presentations that delved into topics affecting these dynamic commands in Europe and Africa,” said Gonzalez.   

U.S. Naval Force 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 interest and security and stability in Europe and Africa.