Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited the crew of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) July 17 for an all-hands call prior to the ship’s upcoming deployment.
Carl Vinson completed pre-deployment training as part of Carrier Strike Group 1 (CSG 1) with elements of Destroyer Squadron 1 (DESRON 1) and Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW 17) in June. Carl Vinson is scheduled to deploy for 10 months to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean areas.
Because of the extended time Carl Vinson and the rest of CSG-1 will deploy, ships deploying afterwards will fall into timetables for the Navy’s new Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP), said Stevens.
O-FRP is designed to provide Sailors and their families with more stability and predictability for when they will be at sea by standardizing the length of deployments to eight months.
MCPON outlined the Navy’s plan for a “high deployment allowance” to Sailors, which will award Sailors an additional $17 a day, up to $500 a month, after 220 days deployed. The high deployment allowance is in the pipeline for approval by the Secretary of the Navy.
MCPON also briefed the crew on his E-Sailor initiative to put tablets into the hands of Sailors, giving them ease of access to necessary training and command information while also providing them with a personal device with which to connect with family and friends.
MCPON envisions equipping every Sailor in the fleet with a smart device capable of cloud connectivity to act as a “personal companion” that would store medical records, orders, and other important information, as well as giving Sailors real-time updates on command activities and planning.
During the all hands call, Stevens also educated Sailors on a new change coming to the fleet Sept. 1. Each commanding officer will have the authority to authorize their unit to wear a command ball cap with the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I, II and III.
Stevens made it clear he is still listening to the fleet when he invited Carl Vinson Sailors on stage with him for questions.
Questions about potential Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) changes and the need for expanded capacity of child development centers were two concerns Sailors presented to MCPON during the open session.
While on board, Stevens also met with CSG-1 Commander Rear Adm. Christopher Grady and Carl Vinson’s Commanding Officer Capt. Kent Whalen.