May 4th, 2007 02:20 EST
CNO, MCPON Visit USS Wasp
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SW/FMF) Joe R. Campa Jr. visited the crew of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) May 1, as part of a waterfront tour of Naval Station Norfolk.
Mullen sat down to a special lunch and question-and-answer session with junior enlisted Sailors on the mess decks, while Campa joined the Wasp chief’s mess. Along with meeting and talking with Sailors, the two guests were able to witness the initial stages of Wasp’s Light-Off Assessment, an inspection designed to ensure the safe operation of the ship’s engineering spaces.
The CNO visited Wasp, currently in port finishing an intensive maintenance period, to show his appreciation for the sacrifices and hard work of Sailors fleetwide. The show of support from the Navy’s highest-ranking officer and highest-ranking enlisted was not lost on the Wasp crew, who were honored to host the distinguished visitors.
“I think it is important that they’re here,” said Cryptologic Technician 2nd Class Larci Robertson. “The fact that they’re taking their time to come out and show encouragement -- it leaves a really good impression.”
During his discussion with Wasp Sailors, Mullen praised the command for its exemplary performance and made it a point to let the crew know how much he appreciated the service and sacrifices of the enlisted, fleetwide.
“Wasp is a very special ship, and I recognize that this is a very challenging time,” said Mullen, as he acknowledged the long, stressful hours the crew has put in to prepare for their ship to be surge-ready. “I am incredibly grateful for your service. Our Navy and our country are in great shape because of what young Americans like you do.”
After providing the command an update on the status of the Navy, he mingled with Sailors, posed for photos, and exchanged a few laughs.
In the chief’s mess, Campa echoed Mullen’s words, expressing his admiration and gratitude to the senior enlisted leadership.
“The chief petty officer leadership is fundamental in making Wasp a superior ship,” said Campa. “The brand of leadership we provide as chiefs is more important now than at any other time in the Navy. We judge the success of the chiefs by the success of the ship -– you can see by walking around Wasp that the chief’s mess is involved.”
After eating with the Sailors, Mullen went down to the main machinery room and auxiliary machinery room, greeting the engineers and tiger team members who were unable to have lunch with the CNO on the mess decks.
“We live in a time where things keep changing and they will keep changing,” said the CNO during one conversation. “You have a great mission and a great ship, but it’s not any good without people like you.”
For more news from USS Wasp, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lhd1/.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew McCord, USS Wasp Public Affairs