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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West holds an all-hands call at Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital during his visit to the Combat Center Nov. 23, 2010.

Photo by Cpl. Andrew S. Avitt

Top enlisted sailor visits MCAGCC

24 Nov 2010 | Cpl. Andrew S. Avitt

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West was aboard the Combat Center Nov. 24 to visit the sailors of Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital while touring commands along the West Coast, just before the holidays.

Although his visit came with a cautionary tone of safety for the liberty periods ahead, West also took time to congratulate the sailors on a job well done.

During his talk with the troops, he also took time to answer questions on subjects ranging from promotions, retention to personal fitness assessments and Navy standards.

“We are going to maintain our course and speed, as you all know we are a force in readiness,” he said. “I think standards are very important.”

As a part of the mission aboard the Combat Center sailors are expected to deploy and with Marines he said, “We have more sailors in the Middle East ashore than we do afloat.”

“Fighting wars isn’t all that the Navy does either, and perhaps one of its more important roles in the world is the humanitarian assistance the United States Navy is on call and ready to give at a moment’s notice,” he said. “Sometimes it is better to prevent wars through humanitarian assistance than to always fight them.”

Changing focus from operational tempo to morale, West asked the sailors to raise their hands if they’ve ever had a bad day. The audience members raised their hands.

“When you’re having a bad day, work through it, and realize it could be worse.”

The former submariner’s views, some focused and serious while others comedic and light, received a large amount of feedback from his blue and green-clad audience.

“You could really relate to what he was saying, and you could tell the troops really related,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Eduardo Pamatz, an X-ray technician with at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital and native of King City, Calif.

“The sea story he had at the end about having a bad day really put it into perspective,” he said. “I take X-rays every day; it’s not a bad job. There will always be bad days no matter what you do, and like he said, you just have to remind yourself it could be worse, and there will always be better days ahead.”

“It’s always good hearing from the top,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Arroyo, a corpsman with Regimental Combat Team 7. “I think what he said was highly motivated, highly dedicated and could never be duplicated.”

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