Navy Secretary visits Camp Fuji
COMINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER CAMP FUJI, Japan -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus visited Marines and sailors Feb. 20 at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji and addressed current issues the Navy and Marine Corps face.
Mabus discussed potential impacts of sequestration, the ongoing drawdown of U.S. forces and the importance of the U.S. military’s presence and activities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
“(The Navy and Marine Corps) is the most formal, expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known,” said Mabus. “Although we are currently faced with cuts in our budget and a drawdown, we are planning to improve the capabilities and lethality of this fighting force.”
Mabus addressed concerns about potential cuts to personnel and budgets.
“Everybody is worried about the budget, and I am one of those people,” said Mabus. “Nobody knows for certain what will happen, but I can tell you some things. No pay or benefits for any active-duty military members will be cut. During this drawdown, nobody will have their enlistment cut short, and no one will be told to go home before they want to go home.”
The chance to hear about important current issues from one of the military’s top leaders was comforting, according to Sgt. David Gonzalez, an administrative specialist with S-1, personnel, administration and manpower, CATC Camp Fuji.
“The thing I liked the most about being able to hear (Mabus) talk was the validation of things we have been hearing from our chain of command,” said Gonzalez. “He is involved in the planning and implementation of the big decisions that affect every Marine and sailor. His visit reinforced that we are all going to be taken care of despite what we may see or hear being reported.”
The Marines and sailors appreciated the opportunity to hear Mabus address their well-being and any concerns they had directly, according to Lance Cpl. Mason D. Khamsihong, a supply administration specialist with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, which is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.
“His visit showed that our leaders are ensuring we are taken care of,” said Khamsihong. “As a junior enlisted Marine, it is hard to see the bigger picture, but after (Mabus’) visit, I feel like he is really looking out for our welfare.”
Before leaving CATC Camp Fuji, Mabus expressed his gratitude to the Marines and sailors present for their service.
“You all are the best at what you do, and you do it well,” said Mabus. “There will be many changes down the road ahead, but through these changes we are striving to become a more expeditionary and better-equipped fighting force.”