MCPON Visits Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering

Story by Amber Vaglica, Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Public Affairs

PORT HUENEME, Calif. – Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell L. Smith spoke with newly commissioned civil engineer corps (CEC) officers and newly graduated enlisted Seabees at two of the five learning sites in the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering’s (CSFE) domain, Feb. 12-13.

Officers from Civil Engineer Corps Officers School (CECOS) Basic Class 266 had the privilege of meeting and speaking with MCPON on Feb. 12.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith (right) presents a graduation certificate to Constructionman Dennis Smith, a student assigned to Naval Construction Training Center Port Hueneme, during a Construction Mechanic “A” School graduation ceremony, Feb. 13. (Photo by Amber Vaglica)


During his visit, Smith gave straightforward advice and insight and highlighted the importance of the relationship between officer and enlisted personnel.

“We as chief take great pride in being those people who give advice,” said Smith. “If you fold us in your decision making process, you’ll get our full support; and if your plan of action doesn’t match ours, we’re still going to give it every bit of strength we can to make it successful.”

Along with the rest of the class, Ensign Dustin Burkett, native of Somerset, Kentucky, explained how honored he was to be able to meet and speak with MCPON.

“His insight on the challenges our force faces now and the way forward was reassuring,” said Burkett. “It showed responsiveness and vision from the Navy’s leadership.”

The following day, Smith visited Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Port Hueneme and participated in the Construction Mechanic “A” school graduation ceremony.

During the ceremony, Smith helped present each student with their graduation certificate and presented the class leader and distinguished grad with coins.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith (right) responds to a question from Ensign Dustin Burkett, a student assigned to Civil Engineer Corp Officers School Basic Class 266, Feb. 12. (Photo by Amber Vaglica)


NCTC Port Hueneme Commanding Officer, Capt. Rafi Miranda, said the MCPON’s visit was an incredible and unique opportunity for our young Seabees. From receiving their graduation certificate, a hearty handshake, and a photograph with the MCPON himself, it will be a graduation they will never forget.

“I truly appreciate him taking the time out of his incredibly busy schedule to honor us with his presence,” said Miranda. “That means a lot to our people.”

Established in 2003 by Naval Education and Training Command, CSFE manages the following learning sites: CECOS, Port Hueneme; NCTC Gulfport, Miss.; NCTC Port Hueneme; CSFE Det. Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; and CSFE Det. Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.

For more information about CSFE, visit or follow CSFE on Facebook at

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