USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) and Navy Total Force/Manpower, Personnel, Education and Training (MPT&E) fleet master chief visited aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Aug. 14 as the ship continued its historic 25th and final deployment.
Adm. Mark Ferguson and Fleet Master Chief (SW/AW/SCW) Scott A. Benning visited Enterprise as a part of an ongoing tour during which they are visiting and thanking Sailors deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
Following their arrival aboard the Big E, Ferguson and Benning were greeted by Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group and Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr., Enterprise's commanding officer, before embarking on a tour of the ship.
During his visit aboard the Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Ferguson stressed the importance of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group's (ECSG) role in ensuring that the sea lanes remain open to trade and commerce in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
"The security of our nation depends on freedom of the seas - particularly at the maritime crossroads," said Ferguson. "For this reason, the Central Command area of operations remains vital. Your presence here demonstrates our continued commitment to regional partners and allies, provides needed capability and is in direct support of our new defense strategy."
Benning also stressed the importance of Enterprise's role in the area and underlined the importance of warfighting.
"Warfighting is our first priority," said Benning. "Our Sailors need to remain ready through great training and operating in the environment in which we fight when necessary, but protect through our always important presence. There is no substitute for the force multiplier that is a proven deckplate-leading Sailor at sea."
While aboard the Big E, Ferguson and Benning took the opportunity to engage with thousands of Enterprise Sailors and Marines.
During the visit, Ferguson and Benning conducted question and answer sessions with several of Enterprise's departments including Reactor, Engineering, Weapons, Supply, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance, Operations, Deck and Enterprise's embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 1.
During many of these sessions, Ferguson stressed the critical nature of what Sailors do on a daily basis; and how the importance of their efforts cannot be overstated.
"The demonstrated flexibility and professionalism that has long been the hallmark of U.S. Naval forces is on display everyday throughout the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group as you carryout the chief of naval operations tenets of 'warfighting first, operate forward and be ready,'" said Ferguson.
Enterprise is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR conducting maritime security operations, theater security operation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.