SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) welcomed the 75th Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) April 20, who thanked the crew for their efforts during Operation Tomodachi.
SECNAV Ray Mabus expressed his gratitude to the crew during an all-hands call in the hangar bay, praising them for their efforts in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan March 11.
"I made a special trip here to thank you all for what you do and to tell you how much pride you have brought, not only to the Navy or to the Reagan strike group, but to the United States of America," Mabus said.
The ships of Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) were the first on the scene in Japan, and began providing HA/DR support immediately after arriving March 13.
Mabus said the hard work and quick response by the CSG greatly helped Japan, and showed the adaptability of changing the strike group mission to meet the challenges of HA/DR.
"Using the same people, the same platform, the same equipment and the same training, you went from doing high-end combat training to doing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief overnight," Mabus said. "The way you have taken the training to do completely different things and instead of precision strikes you're using it to do precision humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; nobody else can do that."
During his visit, Mabus met with Ronald Reagan and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 leadership and was briefed on the CSG's HA/DR operations and greeted Sailors and Marines throughout the ship.
Ronald Reagan departed from its homeport in San Diego Feb. 2, for a training exercise and deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. Ronald Regan's last deployment to 7th Fleet was in 2009.
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