SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW) Susan Whitman accompanied PACFLT Commander Adm. Scott Swift on a visit to Guam April 15.
The goal of Whitman's visit was to assist Swift in stressing the importance of Guam to the Sailors who serve here and to address concerns they may have by speaking to them at an all-hands call, a Chief Petty Officer 365 leadership discussion, a CPO call aboard USS Frank Cable (AS-40) and by attending site tours for various commands around the island.
During a packed all-hands call at the Big Screen Theater on U.S. Naval Base Guam, Swift and Whitman spoke about Guam's role in the Asia-Pacific rebalance, referring to it as a strategic territory for all military branches. Whitman said she wants Sailors to know how important their service is to the upcoming changes in the fleet.
"I want Sailors here to understand that even though Guam is a 210 [square] mile territory, that they are no kidding, forward-deployed Naval forces, and are very relevant to the rebalancing of the Pacific," Whitman said. "They play an integral part in it."
Because the Sailors who serve here are so important to the future of this area, Whitman, who acts as a liaison between Swift and the 140,000 Sailors in the PACFLT area of responsibility, made sure to interact with them during her time on island.
"My purpose for the trip to Guam today is to take fuel samples from the fleet," she said. "When I say fuel samples, I mean to get to the deckplate issues. I'm sampling the fleet to find out what's going on -- not only in Guam, but I've been to the Pacific Northwest, Japan, and all over our AOR. The bottom line is that if I'm not out and about, I cannot bring our issues and challenges in the Pacific Fleet AOR back to the admiral."
She and Swift answered questions ranging from the future of Tuition Assistance, to commissary prices on Guam and future assignments. She also touched on many issues affecting the fleet such as sexual assault, domestic violence, effective leadership and the importance of taking care of our Navy family. Both leaders made a point of acknowledging that the Navy's civilian counterparts, or "civilian Sailors," are part of the Navy team working toward a common goal.
Whitman served in Guam from 1993 to 1995 and hopes to see more Sailors take an interest in serving on Guam, reminding them of its importance.
"If you haven't been here, come here," she said. "There's a lot to do for you and your family. It's a beautiful island, but more importantly, you are part of rebalancing the Pacific."
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.