CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- The United States Navy’s top sailors visited Camp Taqaddum December 23.
Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, and Master Chief Petty Officer Joe R. Campa Jr., Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, visited to speak with and sailors on base.
The visit was part of a tour through Al Anbar Province where Mullen and Campa met and greeted sailors fighting in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which according to the servicemembers featured, was a morale booster.
“It was a great experience to be able to meet the Chief of Naval Operations,” said Seaman Tiffany N. Reese, a corpsman with Surgical and Shock Trauma Platoon, Taqaddum Surgical, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward). “Knowing the position that he holds, (and that he still comes) out and sees the troops, is very rewarding.”
During the visit, hospital personnel gave Mullen a tour of Taqaddum Surgical, where the leaders met sailors and Marines.
While Mullen toured TQ Surgical, Campa met with the senior enlisted, chief petty officer and above, and requested the sailors to continue focusing their efforts on “deck-plate” leadership.
“Deck-plate” leadership, according to Campa, is a method for sailors to replace the idea of “command and control” with “commitment and cohesion”.
“It was great to hear advice from a man that has a lot of vision towards the sailors and the future of the Navy,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Ed Santa-Maria, 45, command master chief of 1st MLG and a native of Dededo, Guam. “It’s our job as leaders to focus our efforts to the junior sailors.”
After the meetings, Mullen and Campa shared lunch with several sailors and Marines, and listened to comments from the troops about their experiences in Iraq.
“Being the only (one from my section) to be invited to lunch with the leaders was a honor,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick K. McCormick, 26, a chaplain assistant for 1st MLG and a native of Bremerton, Wash. “(Mullen and Campa) made me feel like I’ve made a difference in Operation Iraqi Freedom because of their enthusiasm for my job.”
After lunch an open-forum meeting was held at the main-side chapel to give opportunity for any sailor to ask the CNO or the MCPON, what was on their mind.
The leaders answer questions ranged from subjects like the increase of troops in Iraq to improving education for sailors on active duty and reserve.
“The focus is always on (the Marines and sailors),” said Mullen. “I thank you for your service and I am grateful to be here and in uniform with you.”
Mullen and Campra told the sailors and Marines “not a day goes by where they don’t think about them” and concluded by wishing them all a happy holiday season.