Navy Leader Visits Bahrain

Navy Leader Visits Bahrain

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Juan M. Garcia III, highlighted the importance of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative while visiting service members stationed at Naval Support Activity (NSA), Bahrain, March 21.

Bahrain was the third stop in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility for Garcia.

Garcia began the day by joining Sailors for an early morning physical training (PT) session and said that maintaining a healthy lifestyle year round is the focus of today’s force.

“We want to move away from a culture of testing, where Sailors cram for their PRT twice a year, to a culture of fitness, where Sailors are fit to fight 365 days a year.”

Chief Yeoman Antonio Franklin, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s personnel officer, said that working out with Garcia was an unexpected treat.

“With the high operational tempo here in Bahrain, it’s inspiring to get the opportunity to meet and PT with someone of his stature. It shows motivational leadership at the highest level,” said Franklin.

Additionally, Garcia held an all-hands call where he discussed the future of Navy personnel programs and answered questions about the new initiative, and Sailors’ career concerns. Popular topics included: enlisted retention boards, manning, tuition assistance, physical fitness, healthcare, retirement benefits and the perform-to-serve program.

During a time of increasing change to the Navy’s budget, national defense strategy and personnel policies, Garcia wanted to let the audience know the reason for the visit.

“I want to dispel any misinformation that you may have heard and give you the ground truth about the future of our Navy,” said Garcia. “I’m also here to fill in some details about a program that rolled out 10 days ago known as the 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative; but more than anything, I want to thank you and your families for the wonderful job you’re doing out here each and every day.”

Garcia clarified that the initiative combines a set of new and existing objectives and policies, in an effort to maximize Sailor and Marine readiness. It is divided into five different categories; readiness, safety, physical fitness, inclusion, and continuum of service. The initiative seeks to ensure all Sailors and Marines are mentally and physically sound, while providing the awareness, skills and support needed to excel long after they’ve hung up their uniform.

Garcia emphasized that there has never been a more exciting time to serve in the world’s greatest Navy.

“It has never been harder to become a U.S. Sailor or Marine, and it has never been tougher to stay a U.S. Sailor or Marine,” said Garcia. “We are getting Sailors who are technically savvy, with higher ASVAB scores and traditional education backgrounds. The Navy has the most qualified force it has ever had. Right now we have the best of the best serving in uniform.”

The 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

Naval Today Staff , March 25, 2012; Image: navy