Friday, October 26, 2012

Changing Course and Maintaining Talent

Greetings Shipmates,

Last week I wrote about the outstanding Sailors I met when I traveled to Navy Operational Support Center Columbus during the celebration of the Navy's birthday, and I mentioned how many of them exemplified our commitment to the Continuum of Service.  This week, I want to write a little more about what we mean by that phrase and the why it's such an important investment in our Navy.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the Continuum of Service initiative is a philosophy which directs different kinds of career management tools designed to allow Sailors to transition more easily back and forth from active duty, Reserve and civilian life. We've found that encouraging a flexible career path for our Sailors allows us to maintain our standards of excellence while providing the flexibility our Sailors need.  And of course, we know it's important to have the right person in the right job with the right skills.

There are numerous programs that enable our Sailors to contribute to the Navy mission in many different ways through a "Lane Change." As I wrote before, our talent pool is deep and we'd like to keep and develop that talent for the long haul.  We understand that there are times in your career when you have to make adjustments for family, health or professional reasons.  Our Continuum of Service philosophy serves to offer workable alternatives and easier transitions.   For example, did you know the Career Intermission Pilot Program (CIPP) provides an opportunity for active-duty Sailors to take a one to three year sabbatical to pursue professional or personal goals by transferring temporarily to the Individual Ready Reserve?  Or, if your current rating is overmanned, the Fleet Rating Identification Engine, also known as FleetRIDE, can help you find another rating you're qualified for with more room to grow. These are just a couple of the resources we use to maintain our talent and give them opportunities to stay Navy.

My challenge to you is to research and learn about our programs so you and those you work with have all the information needed to continue your service. Take advantage of the toolkit of resources we have and take charge of your career.  And I definitely encourage you to contact your career counselor at your NOSC to determine the best path for you, your Navy career and your family.

I'd like to close with a request from me to you, to share a story about one of your career transition experiences.   Did you shift from active duty to the Reserve or from the selected Reserve to the Individual Ready Reserve?  Or maybe you went through the process to convert to a wholly different rating, or participated in a voluntary recall program?

Whatever the case, take this opportunity to share your story and experiences.  I look forward to hearing from you!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Celebrating the Navy Birthday with NOSC Columbus, Ohio

Hello All and Happy 237th Birthday to our Navy,

Last weekend I had the opportunity to celebrate the 237th birthday of the United States Navy with the Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and citizens of Columbus, Ohio. 

Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), Columbus and the local Navy League hosted the region's annual Navy Ball which was attended by Sailors from commands in the surrounding area including the Ohio State NROTC Unit, Defense Logistics Agency and the Navy Recruiting District.   During the Ball we paused to recognize those 27 NOSC Columbus Sailors currently on Individual Augmentee (IA) assignments and supporting Navy and combatant commanders across the globe.   

During the dinner I had the pleasure of speaking to a Supply Officer who, in my opinion, was a perfect example of a Continuum of Service.  This officer started his career in the active component then transitioned to the Selected Reserve only to finally accept a permanent recall to active duty - all this while working as a civil servant.  It is amazing to see the opportunities that present themselves … if you are open to them. 

The next morning I spoke with many NOSC Sailors who were busy working hard on their individual readiness.  I was particularly impressed with a Senior Chief who is preparing for his sixth deployment as a Hospital Corpsman.  I also spoke with a young Seabee who, despite the significant restructuring going on in his community,  maintains an optimistic outlook that there will continue to be opportunities out there for hard working Sailors. 

I departed NOSC Columbus impressed with the focus on readiness training, as well as the outstanding examples of the Continuum of Service in action. Their Skipper, CDR John Sterba, certainly runs a tight ship and is very much committed to ensuring the success of his Selected Reserve cadre assigned.The Navy Reserve talent pool is deep;  the expertise our Sailors bring to the Navy, the investment in training we provide and the commitment we have to our Sailor’s personal and professional readiness is the trifecta for excellence.  

As I continue my journeys around the Force, I look forward to seeing other outstanding examples of this excellence everywhere I go. 


Friday, October 5, 2012

Keeping the Balance

One of my first visits to the field shortly after assuming command was to the Boy Scout Summit construction site near Mount Hope, WV.  Navy Seabees are assisting in the construction through a program called Innovative Readiness Training which provides real world training opportunities for our service members and units to prepare them for their wartime missions while supporting the needs of America's underserved communities.  This site will be the future location for the Boy Scout Jamboree. 

While there I toured several different projects underway, with nearly every reserve component providing support. Along the way, I met a representative Sailor who particularly impressed me. Engineering Aid Second Class Jessica Lyn Leonard was the lead Engineering Aid on the JTF/Beckley Summit project.  At the time Petty Officer Leonard was surveying the construction of a large Amphitheater.  I was amazed at her education; she started by graduating from Florida Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in drafting certification in 2005 and has since completed her Bachelors of Arts degree majoring in Religion with a double minor in Urban and Regional Planning and Business Administration. Currently she's awaiting approval of her thesis for a Masters of Arts degree in the College of Design, Construction and Planning from the University of Florida.

I chose to highlight Petty Officer Leonard because she is great example of how to balance an incredibly busy lifestyle.  Why? Petty Officer Leonard is a wife, mother, a cancer survivor, a Sailor. She has volunteered 1,640 hours to local preservation societies, classrooms, and other places, using her skills as a planner, surveyor and drafter. Petty Officer Leonard is assigned to NMCB FOURTEEN DET 0614. 

She was only one of the many outstanding Reserve Sailors and Marines on the mountain that day but she exemplifies the balance the reserve member brings to the fight. While receiving great training and experience that only the US Navy can provide, her personal contributions equal that of the training she receives. To the Navy, she brings her extensive education; her life experiences and lessons learned; her commitment to her family, community and country; her professional expertise and most of all, her fighting spirit.

I was honored to be invited to visit that day. I was impressed by the work that was being accomplished. I was inspired by our sailors and I am committed to my Reserve Sailors like PO2 Leonard. She is a Navy Reserve Sailor. She is a war fighter. But she is just one example. I know there are thousands more like this around the Navy Reserve and I'd encourage you to share their stories here. I'm looking forward to reading about them.  

Thank you all and have a great weekend,