By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelby Sanders
USS Blue Ridge Sailors experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert served as reenlisting officer at a group ceremony during his visit to Yokosuka Naval Base, May 10.
The reenlistees included: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Melvin Orr, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Leigh Striker, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Jun Wu, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Neika Burke, Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Brett Rushing, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Luis Zabalsa and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Robert Zobel.
Commander, 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott H. Swift introduced Greenert, who began the ceremony by addressing issues concerning the Navy’s budget, and assuring 7th Fleet Sailors that they will indeed be getting the budgetary support they need to continue maintaining the world’s most powerful naval presence.
“You are the key to keeping the Asia-Pacific region secure,” said Greenert. “We need to be present where and when it matters.”
As CNO, he is focusing his efforts on improving the Navy’s warfighting capabilities, developing Sailors professionally and maintaining the force’s readiness in order to support its assigned missions.
“I have four top priorities at the moment, and those are sexual assault prevention, suicide prevention, manning at sea and operational tempo,” said Greenert.
The reenlistment ceremony is a way for Sailors to make a personal commitment in a public forum to serve their nation with honor, courage and commitment.
“It’s a great honor and opportunity to reenlist with the CNO. This is a rare opportunity that I’ll probably experience only once in my lifetime,” said Wu. “It reminds me that every Sailor plays an important role.”
A Town Hall meeting followed the ceremony. Greenert covered a range of topics including concerns about sexual assault, suicides, operational tempo and manning of ships at sea.