(Via Ho’okele News)
Story and photo by MC2 Laurie Dexter
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii
Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, commander of Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) during a tour May 14.
Copeman conducted an all-hands call in addition to visiting the guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65) and guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93).
His visit comes in the wake of Chosin and Chung-Hoon being awarded the Battle “E” Efficiency award, which were presented in March 2014.
The visit gave Copeman an opportunity to talk with Sailors and address any concerns or issues they may have.
“It’s always significant when you have a three-star admiral, our boss, coming aboard to address the crew,” said Cmdr. Troy Fendrick, executive officer of USS Chosin.
“It lets the crew know that our chain of command is engaged and that we do care about what it is we do and our future. I think it is critical that he does come aboard to identify any issues and concerns that the crew has.”
Copeman’s main focus was training efficiency when he spoke with the crew of Chosin on the flight deck of the ship.
“I think the chiefs are the center of gravity in leadership, training and education,” said Copeman. “At the end of the day, we can have the fanciest gear in the whole wide world and the most advanced weapon systems, but if the people that we have on these ships don’t know how to operate it and maintain it, all is lost and we’ve wasted all our money.”
The ship’s hard work and dedication to proper training played a major role in its receiving the Battle “E” award.
“Being awarded the Bloodhound and Battle ‘E’ is recognition of Chung-Hoon’s ability to live up to the CNOs three tenets by focusing on warfighting first, operating forward and being ready,” said Cmdr. Ryan Collins, commanding officer of Chung-Hoon.
“Having Vice Adm. Copeman recognize that was extremely important to keep the crew focused on those tenets as we conduct significant maintenance on the ship during a drydock period,” he said.
Lt. Cmdr. Tom Ogden, executive officer of Chung-Hoon, added, “Chung-Hoon has a pride in ownership that is unmatched, and having the results of hard work recognized by senior Navy leaders validates our ship’s readiness to respond to all tasking, from deployed operations to training and maintenance.”
The Battle “E” can be presented to ships, submarines, aviation and other units, and is given only to those that achieve the highest standards of battle readiness.
To win the Battle “E,” a ship must excel and earn excellence awards in maritime warfare, engineering/survivability, command, control, communications and information warfare, logistics management and ship safety.
“When the crew heard they were a Battle ‘E’ winner, the morale went up,” said Fendrick. “Looking back at all the hard work they did, it just paid off. It was huge.”