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    MCPON Speaks on Suicide Prevention, Belonging to a Team, Battle at Sea and Building Leaders

    USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Pyoung Yi | 191022-N-VY375-1250 SAN DIEGO (Oct. 22, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pyoung Yi 

    USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)   

    SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith addressed the growing rate of suicides in the Navy, while speaking with the Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Mess aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Oct 22.

    “Suicide is like cancer; there are many different types and reasons people choose to go down that road,” Smith said. A report released by the DOD in September shows that in 2018, 541 service members across the military’s active and reserve components died by suicide. Since the report’s release, Sailors have asked Smith his thoughts on what they can do to prevent their shipmates from taking their own lives in various all-hands calls aboard ships and at other locations throughout the Navy.

    Smith emphasized the importance of “meaningful eye-to-eye connections” and building the kind of bonds “that makes people feel like they belong.” “When you feel like you belong to something and you matter, and people rely on you, you’re less likely to feel alone,” Smith said.

    He spoke on the balancing act of work-life balance and training with a sense of urgency for the potential threats of combat in the near future.

    “That’s where we’re headed and that’s what we need to be prepared for,” Smith said. “Most of us have been doing the traditional things in the Navy without that fear of a real threat. We have not focused as much as we should have on things like damage control readiness and the other skills we need to craft.”

    Carrier strike groups need to be able to repair themselves, Smith said. “The ability of a unit to organically heal itself is essential to combat readiness.”

    Roosevelt's CPO Mess agreed with Smith’s message. "I learned that as leaders we should be prepared for many challenges,” said Chief Logistics Specialist Roel Lunod, Theodore Roosevelt’s supply department’s material division chief petty officer. “What I do now as a leader can affect what can happen tomorrow. We need to be prepared to defend our freedom from our enemies and build our junior Sailors resolve.”

    With the application deadline looming for the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY-21) Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL) program, Smith discussed the importance of identifying, developing and promoting talent. He told CPOs that “those selected for these programs are responsible for leading the effort to align the Navy core values, visions and guiding principles.”

    The deadline to apply is Nov. 22. For more information on the program (NAVADMIN 216/19), visit:




    Date Taken: 10.22.2019
    Date Posted: 10.28.2019 15:00
    Story ID: 349550
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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