SECNAV visits Makin Island sailors in Singapore

Secretary of the U.S. Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited sailors and marines assigned to USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and the 11th marine expeditionary unit (MEU) while the ship was pierside in Singapore, November 22.

Mabus opened the event with an all-hands call, lauding the sailors and marines aboard Makin Island for a job well done during the first month of their deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

“We’re not only in the right place at the right time, we’re in the right place all the time,” said Mabus. “It has given our leaders options in times of crisis. It’s being around the globe, around the clock.”

Makin Island Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Melson said the crew looked forward to the secretary’s visit.

“To have the longest-serving secretary of the Navy since World War I aboard Makin Island prior to combat operations is a distinct honor,” said Melson. “This ship really is the future — not just the propulsion plant, not just the flight deck, but the crew, and this is a historic opportunity for our Sailors and Marines.”

During a question and answer session on the flight deck, Mabus fielded questions concerning the Navy Occupational Specialties (NOS) Rating Modernization Plan, and how the rapid increase in ships added to the fleet will affect sea and shore rotation.

“Yes, we have been adding a lot of ships, with the Navy commissioning a new ship almost every week,” said Mabus. “The ships we are commissioning now and in the future will have much smaller and more highly-trained crews than we currently do. We are trying to get Sailors to sea more, and staying on shore less. We are the Navy, and Sailors go to sea.”

Mabus set the goal of attaining a 300-ship fleet by the end of 2019.

He also touted the achievements of the Navy and Marine Corps in diversifying the Department of the Navy’s energy sources.

“If we didn’t do something, energy could be used as a weapon against us,” Mabus said. “Last year, Navy and Marine Corps bases met the 50 percent goal for alternative energy, and at sea we’re at about 30 percent. Half of that is nuclear; the rest is biofuels.”

Mabus also spoke about the importance of partnerships.

“The Navy base here in Singapore is a tangible example of the strong partnerships we have and continue to build upon here in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” said Mabus. “Our friends and allies rely on our deployed Sailors and Marines to maintain the security and stability of this region.”

Mabus is the 75th United States SECNAV, and the longest to serve as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I.