SIGONELLA, Sicily (NNS) -- The Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), Adm. Mark Ferguson, visited Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella July 26.
The scheduled visit marks Ferguson's first visit as VCNO to the base. He was joined by Fleet Master Chief April Beldo from the Bureau of Personnel. The VCNO addressed Sailors at an all hands call and discussed the effects of budget uncertainty and the importance of the Navy's forward deployed operations.
Ferguson also met with NAS Sigonella's Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) representatives to talk about challenges faced by Sailors in the area and to answer their questions and concerns.
"In Washington, we can make policies, but it is leadership that changes what happens on the ground. We need leaders at the deckplate level to halt sexual assault, which has no place in our Navy," said Ferguson. He further commented, "CSADD provides positive mentoring and support for our Sailors."
"I believe that the impact of the VCNO's words is best targeted at the junior sailors," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class (SW) Tiffany Hamilton, NAS Sigonella CSADD chapter president. "Statistics have proven that these are the ranks where most of the sexual assaults, alcohol related incidents, and other destructive decisions occur. His visit, personally, let us know that the higher chain of command is listening to what we have to say and believe we make a difference."
During the visit, Ferguson toured the water treatment plant and had an opportunity to view first-hand how the installation has been working to meet the Secretary of the Navy's commitment to ensuring overseas installations have the same water quality standard as those in the U.S.
"Providing our Sigonella community with the same quality drinking water we are accustomed to in the U.S. is one of my top priorities," said base commanding officer Capt. Chris Dennis. "As commanding officer, the safety of our community is my responsibility and one that I take very seriously. More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. We cannot be too serious when it comes to providing safe water to NAS Sigonella."
The commanding officer, along with representatives from the Naval Hospital and Public Works, briefed the VCNO on measures taken to ensure water quality for the base.
The VCNO also visited NAS Sigonella's Morale, Welfare a1nd Recreation facilities, which are currently undergoing a $4 million renovation project consisting of a multi-purpose sports field and lighting system, gym and fitness center upgrades, tennis and basketball courts resurfacing and swimming pool repairs.
The visit concluded with a tour of U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella and the reenlistment of two hospital Sailors.