“Breaking the Ice with 21st Century Sailor”
YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Jill Vines Loftus, Director of the Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DoN SAPRO) and Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan/Navy Region Japan (CNFJ/CNRJ) presided over an “icebreaker” for the region’s 21st Century Sailor program.
The event was held at U.S. Fleet Activities, Yokosuka’s United Service Organization (USO) facility. Its purpose was to help inform Sailors of the many services provided by the 21st Century Sailor Office.
21st Century Sailor is a Secretary of the Navy initiative designed to consolidate many Sailor-focused services into one overarching program. It is broken up into five distinct categories centering on a Sailor’s readiness, safety, physical fitness, inclusion, and continuum of service.
“Our mission is to help Sailors and their families build a solid foundation and give them the tools needed to face 21st Century challenges” said Lt. Stacey Zimmerman, CNFJ/CNRJ 21st Century Sailor program director. “The more we draw attention to the 21st Century initiative with events like this one, the more Sailors will identify us as a one stop shop for all of these programs.”
The program was created in 2012 by the Secretary of the Navy Mr. Ray Mabus, and has begun to increase in popularity recently, as commanders begin to see the initiative’s ability to increase the efficiency of all the programs involved.
“We have taken all the programs that make you a better person from physical fitness, stress relief, suicide prevention, financial training and we have rolled it all together so you only have to go to one place to get the help you need,” said Kraft. “We want to get everyone whatever help they need so that they can continue to be forward deployed at the tip of the spear.”
Through the diligent work and effort of Zimmerman and her office, the program is shaping to be one of the region’s most important Sailor services.
“I visited [U.S. Fleet Activities] Yokosuka 5 years ago and in that time there have been dramatic changes” said Loftus. “I’ve seen much more engagement from leadership, the Chief’s Mess, and the Bluejacket’s Association. This entire program allows Sailors to help Sailors.”
The event was attended by Sailors and civilian guests included a cake cutting ceremony, a set of pop and rock songs by the Navy 7th Fleet Far East Edition Rock band, and a barbeque hosted by FY-15 Chief Selectees.
“Before this event, I really didn’t know anything about the 21st Century Sailor program” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Julian Johnson, assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). “But now that I do know, I think it is a great idea and will benefit all Sailors.”
For more information of the Department of the Navy’s 21st Century Sailor and Marine program please visit http://www.21stcentury.navy.mil/Pages/default.aspx .