OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan M. Garcia, III visited installations around Navy Region Northwest July 17-18.
During his time in the Northwest, Garcia held all hands calls at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), Naval Station Everett, Naval Base Kitsap and Naval Base Kitsap Bangor where he highlighted the "21st Century Sailor and Marine" initiative and its goals.
The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative is a new program used to maximize the personal readiness of Sailors and Marines in order to sharpen the effectiveness of combat forces.
"The Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, and the commandant of the Marine Corps determined that if we brought together all the existing, in development and some new programs we can ensure that our folks have the tools they need to succeed and excel," Garcia said.
Garcia focused on the initiative's five key areas: readiness, safety, physical fitness, inclusion, and continuum of service with great response from those attending.
"I think that this program is going to be extremely positive for the Navy and Marine Corps," said Navy Counselor 1st Class (AW/SW) David E. Delano, NASWI. "I think that the five areas of focus are vital to completing any mission."
Another topic was the Navy's intention to improve nutrition by increasing the quality of food and beverage choices for Sailors and Marines.
"By the end of the calendar year every galley, chow hall, mess hall, wardroom in the Navy at every meal will have an entree and side dish from the USDA's "most healthy" meal list," Garcia said. "No one is going to be told to eat their broccoli or spinach, but every Sailor will have the healthiest options and will be trained on how to take care of them."
Garcia also voiced his gratitude and ensured Sailors and Marines that their best interest is a priority.
"I want to thank Sailors and their families for their quiet patriotism. We've asked a lot of you, the nation has asked a lot of you over the last decade," said Garcia, "But were going to ensure the compensation package we offer is rewarding and that your families are taken care of. Were going to ensure you have the tools you need to succeed."
Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (AW) Christine Bower, Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, said she was happy she attended.
"This was a good opportunity to hear what the people who make decisions about how the Navy is changing had to say," said Bower. "It's a special opportunity to receive firsthand knowledge."
Sailors left the all hands calls with a better understanding of the direction the Navy is going.
"I learned that there are several opportunities for education, family and Navy that have long term positive outcomes," Bower said. "It seems that the Navy is really trying to give Sailors every opportunity to succeed in all aspirations they may have."
The position of ASN is to act on matters that affect manpower and personnel policy within the Department of the Navy. His duties include issues that affect active duty and reserve Sailors, Marines, and Department of the Navy civilians.
For more information about the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative visit www.21stcentury.navy.mil.