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Chief of Naval Operations Visit Sailors Aboard USS Ronald Reagan

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke | USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs | Oct. 15, 2015

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), Japan, Oct. 15.

CNO held an all-hands call with MCPON to address Sailors as Ronald Reagan made preparations to depart for her first patrol as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier.

"Today is a historic day for Ronald Reagan, Japan and the alliance," said Richardson. "The fact that you're getting underway today is one of the headlines of the rebalance in the Pacific. You should take an amazing amount of pride in that."

Richardson took the opportunity to introduce himself to the crew, convey his vision and communicate his mission as CNO.

"I'm always amazed as I talk to our Sailors, Navy civilians and families on how amazingly talented and dedicated you are," said Richardson. "It strikes me that out of all the choices you had, you all chose to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Something special. Something noble. You chose to raise your right hands and take that oath to support and defend our constitution, and our nation and that means a tremendous amount to me. That sense of service and selflessness, more than anything else, binds us together, and through that dedication and oath we have so much more in common than anything that separates us."

Following their initial remarks, CNO and MCPON opened the floor to questions from the crew which included topics like Navy manning, fitness standards, retirement programs and the ongoing restructure in Okinawa, Japan.

"We have a firm alliance with Japan and we are going to stand by that alliance and the requirements of our treaty to the letter," said Richardson. "We need to be present here and critical to that presence is our presence in Okinawa."

CNO said he is looking forward to seeing Reagan's progress as the U.S. Navy's carrier in the forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF).

"It's inspirational to stand in front of you and just think about what's going to be in your future. To think about the opportunities you are going to have and the contribution you all are going to make to our national security and to the security in the Pacific region," said Richardson. "I hope you all feel that in your guts because it's absolutely true. When the president of the United States talks about what it means to enhance security in the Pacific, he talks about USS Ronald Reagan's forward deployment to Yokosuka, and how much that means and that comes down to you. Good luck getting underway today. Go out there. Be safe. Be effective. I look forward to following you very closely."

MCPON Stevens also had a few words of advice and encouragement in closing.

"It's not lost on us - the sacrifice you and your families make every single day," said Stevens. "I'd like to share with you three things I call the foundation of success, because I want all of you to be successful. Remember to work hard every single day, stay out of trouble and be a good and decent person and you'll be well on your way to success. And if no one told you this morning, the CNO and I care very deeply about you and your families and as a matter of fact, that's right, we love you. So you guys take care of yourselves and be safe out there."

Richardson is currently on his first overseas trip as the CNO. The destinations will include Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Bahrain, and Italy.

Richardson became the 31st CNO, Sept. 18, serving as the Navy's most senior officer, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a principal advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Defense and the President.