By Clark Pierce
Jax Air News Editor

Dozens of chiefs and first class petty officers gathered Oct. 20 at the former NAS Jacksonville Fire Station No. 2 on Mustin Road to open their new training headquarters for the CPO 365 program.

NAS Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. Sean Haley was impressed.

"Command Master Chief Jeffery Waters listened to the installation chiefs and laid out an innovative plan to rescue this vacant building for CPO 365," remarked Haley.  "When the installation chief petty officers' association got wind of this, there was no stopping the project. What we're celebrating today will give you time to reflect on becoming part of the mess. This building adds credence and camaraderie to the CPO 365 process. What you've done here is very creative and serves as a focal point for future CPO 365 training."

"As far as I know, we're opening the first facility on the east coast dedicated solely to training new chief petty officers through the CPO 365 program," explained Chief Petty Officer Brian High, assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 at NAS Jacksonville. 

CPO 365 is a yearlong development and training program for first class petty officers that was first introduced in 2010 by former MCPON Rick West. The program is a two-phase, year round training initiative that takes place in chiefs messes throughout the Navy to educate and empower first class petty officers (FCPOs) with the standards of leadership required to be a chief. 

According to High, phase one of CPO 365 consists of training focused on teamwork and initial team building. Phase two begins when FCPOs are selected as CPOs. It is the final training period before their inclusion into the chiefs mess. 

"Before working with the installation to develop a Non-Federal Entity agreement to occupy this buiding, our CPO 365 program depended on tenant commands for administrative and training space. We're also fortunate to have an outdoor physical training area right across the street from this former fire station - and there's plenty of parking, too," said High.

Inside the facility, Sailors can check the training schedule and avail themselves of self-paced,  computer-based training. There will also be PowerPoint presentations on topics, such as Brilliant on the Basics, leadership principles, deckplate leadership, Navy Core Values, mentorship and creating conditions for success. "e can also facilitate face-to-face discussion groups, including sponsors and mentors, on topics related to CPO leadership," said High.

He added that a number of CPOs provided input on the training facility, including Chief Petty Officer Steve Comer, Senior Chief Petty Officer Rodwell Lloyd, and Command Master Chief Jeffery Waters.