ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited Sailors aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) as the ship continues its pre-deployment work-up cycle off the coast of Florida, Dec. 4.
Upon his arrival, Mabus was welcomed by Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson, Commander, Strike Group 10, Capt. Paul Spedero, Ike's commanding officer, and Capt. Jeffrey Anderson, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3's commanding officer.
Mabus observed flight operations from the flight deck, ate lunch with junior Sailors on the mess decks and addressed the ship's crew at an all-hands call in the hangar bay. He reenlisted Sailors, presented awards and spoke about the importance of the Navy.
"What the Navy uniquely gives the nation is presence," he said. "We're in the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time. We get on station faster, we stay longer, we bring everything we need with us and we don't have to ask anybody's permission to get the job done."
He also expressed his gratitude for the Sailor's efforts on board and around the fleet.
"I want to thank y'all," he said. "It is not easy to wear the uniform of this country. You and your family sacrifice every single day. You are the most powerful, expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known. Nobody can touch the United States Navy. It is up to us to keep it that way."
Mabus shook hands, took photos and talked to Sailors one-on-one.
"It was such an honor to meet the Navy's top leader," said Yeoman 3rd Class Mikael Petrovic, Ike's supply yeoman. "I appreciate that he took time to fly out to the ship during the holiday season while we're underway. It shows that he really cares about every Sailor."
Ike is at sea conducting its Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA/FEP), the final piece of the Basic Phase of Ike's pre-deployment workup schedule. The TSTA/FEP process is unit-level training designed to prepare the ship, its crew and embarked air wing for full integration into a carrier strike group by measuring proficiency in a wide range of mission-critical operational areas.
The evaluation period marks the first time Ike integrated with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, CVW 3 embarked and ships from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26.
The Ike Strike Group (IKECSG) is the first to implement and operationalize the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP), which represents the Navy's new strategy of generating ready forces for employment.
For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.