Non-commissioned officer development changes gears for Eurasia Partnership Capstone 2009

SOUDA BAY, Greece — U.S. 6th Fleet personnel provided non-commissioned officer (NCO) development sessions during Eurasia Partnership Capstone 2009 (EPC 09) here, Sept. 24, at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operation Training Center (NMIOTC).

The Participation of 11 senior officers and six senior enlisted advisers from Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania, and Ukraine make this the first year NCO development is taught to senior leadership.

"Throughout the entire theater, U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force personnel are teaching NCO development courses to junior NCOs from other nations and they are getting it," said Cmdr. Lawrence Ollice, lead planning officer for EPC 09. "However, their officers and their senior leadership have not been trained. We realized last year, in order to take this to the next step, we must train the officers." The students are taught values and points of view that are foundational to NCO development through open discussions, role playing and lectures.

"I gave them examples of shipboard life. I utilized some of my past experiences to help them understand where the [U.S.] Navy is and how the [U.S.] Navy relies on their NCOs a little bit more than other services in the U.S. military," said Master Chief Petty Officer John Taylor, instructor for EPC 09 and command master chief aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20). "All countries have NCOs, but not all countries know how to utilize them, and we can give them a better idea of how we fit as senior NCOs in the Navy." In a role-playing scenario, students were presented with situations where they had to mentor or lecture a junior sailor or officer in front of the entire class. After they completed their task, the instructors critiqued the students in an open forum discussion.

Due to the high number of Ukrainian students, they were able to participate in many of the role-playing scenarios. Ukraine sent nine officers and two master chief petty officers to the NCO Development course.

"We really got to see how true professionals work and share their experience," said Ukrainian Navy Capt. Serhiy Shevtsov, deputy director of naval personnel for Ukraine. "This training has taught me that we need to realize the role of the master sergeant [U.S. Navy master chief petty officer equivalent] and implement it in our system. That way, before my officers and I set a task, we know what we can expect from our NCOs." Shevtsov also added that he plans on building his NCO corps based on the example that the U.S. chief petty officer instructors presented.

EPC is an annual conference hosted by the U.S. Navy, where military and civilian personnel participate in non-formal workshops and seminars aimed at increasing maritime safety and security. This is accomplished through the building of long term relationships at the junior officer and non-commissioned officer level with open and transparent sharing of information.

Nations participating in EPC 09 include Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Ukraine and the United States.

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