Secretary of Navy Visits USS New Orleans Sailors


The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) visited Sailors and Marines assigned to amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), while the ship was in Aqaba, Jordan, for a port visit, April 26.

SECNAV Ray Mabus, was in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility as part of a regional tour to thank service members for their hard work and dedication of service.

While aboard New Orleans, Mabus observed a bilateral visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training event involving U.S. Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and members of the Royal Jordanian Marine Forces.

Additionally, he held an all-hands call, emphasizing the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, then answering questions from the audience. He also highlighted the importance of sea basing.

“Sea basing is one of the most significant things we’re doing in the new defense strategy that the president announced in January,” said Mabus. “Sea basing is finding innovative, low-cost ways of doing things with other nations and other navies.”

Mabus said there is a tremendous demand for amphibious ships, like New Orleans, due to its adaptability to a wide range of missions.

“This is a difficult environment you operate in,” said Mabus. “We’re the only global force, and we’re going to remain the most pre-eminent expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known.”

Mabus also presented three Sailors and three Marines with Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals during the all-hands call.

Engineman 2nd Class Jacob McDonald, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Christopher Melo, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Jacob Patrick, Sgt. Jason Noel, Sgt. Edgar Perez and Cpl. Timur Oljuskin were awarded medals for their outstanding efforts while on deployment.

Patrick said meeting the SECNAV helped him realize the importance of being a Sailor.

“Just to see him and meet him helps put things in perspective for me,” said Patrick. “Hearing his vision of where the Navy is going motivates me. It makes me proud to be in the military.”

After giving the awards, Mabus handed each awardee a SECNAV coin.

“We have the best force we’ve ever had,” said Mabus. “Part of my job is to ensure that Sailors and Marines have the tools they need to have a great career, whether it’s four years or 40.”

New Orleans and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th MEU are deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Naval Today Staff, May 03, 2012;