SECNAV Visits Pacific Northwest

Story Number: NNS130207-03Release Date: 2/7/2013 10:14:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Brown, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Detachment Northwest

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited Sailors, Marines and Department of the Navy civilians in the Pacific Northwest, Feb. 6-7.

The SECNAV's visits included all-hands calls at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bremerton, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) and a tour of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), currently undergoing maintenance at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

"Secretary Mabus, welcome to the Pacific Northwest and welcome back to Naval Base Kitsap," said Capt. Pete Dawson, commanding officer of NBK.

Before Mabus addressed the Sailors in attendance he reenlisted 23 Sailors at NBK and 13 Sailors at NASWI and presented them each with a coin following the reenlistment.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class (SW) Daniel Atwood, attached to Naval Supply Systems Command, Puget Sound. "Not many people get to do this, so it's really a great experience all around."

During the all hands calls at NBK at NASWI, Mabus spoke about the budget, 21st Century Sailor initiative and his priorities as Secretary of the Navy.

"I think one of the important things to remember is that no matter what happens, it will not affect pay and benefits for active duty military or families," said Mabus. "We are going to have to spend less. We have shown we can manage money, and we can do the job America needs us to do. The issues with the budget have put a stress on the force, but I, and America, could not be more proud of what you do. You have done every job you have been asked."

Naval Aircrewman (Mechanical) 2nd Class (AW) Alex M. Allen, Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 said it was reassuring that even though if Sequestration hits or the Continuing Resolution stays in effect, we'll be cutting down on deployments, ships, and aircraft, but we're not going to sacrifice any pay, benefits or programs that are in place for our Sailors.

"Coming in here I was a little worried about sequestration seeing as how nobody knew what was going to get cut," he said. "But it let me know which direction the department of the Navy is going in terms of budget cuts."

With the 21st Century Sailor initiative Mabus emphasized the importance of having the different programs in place in order to help Sailors find what they need.

"One of the things we have tried to do with 21st Century Sailor is put all the programs such as sexual assault prevention, suicide prevention, fitness, family programs, and educational programs all in one spot so you can have a one stop shop for all these programs," Mabus said. "We have some serious issues in the Navy with stuff like sexual assault. I'm not just concerned with stuff like that, I am mad about that. We are supposed to have our shipmates' backs. We should not put up with it, and we will not put up with it."

Mabus continued to emphasize the importance of the Sailors and Marines serving their country.

"Look after yourselves, and look after each other. You are the most important thing we have. You are the edge, you are the thing that makes the Navy the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known."

To conclude his two-day visit to the Northwest, Mabus hosted a ship naming ceremony in Seattle for USS Washington (SSN 787) Feb. 7.

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus helps cut a cake to commemorate the 102nd birthday of President Ronald Reagan.
130206-N-EE987-285 NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash. (Feb. 6, 2013) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, center, Capt. Thom Burke, left, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), and Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Edgar Estrella cut a cake to commemorate the 102nd birthday of President Ronald Reagan aboard USS Ronald Reagan. The ship is currently homeported in Bremerton, Wash., while undergoing a docked planned incremental availability maintenance period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shawn J. Stewart/Released)
February 7, 2013
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