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SECNAV Visits future of Navy at Recruit Training Command

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090717-01
Release Date: 7/17/2009 12:04:00 AM

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Rhonda Burke

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) visited the Navy's only boot camp, Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, July 16 to see firsthand the training the Navy's newest Sailors receive as they prepare to join the fleet.

"These are the folks that are going to be the Navy of the future, and I wanted to see how people come into the Navy, what sort of training they get, what sort of lessons they are learning," SECNAV Ray Mabus said. "I have been very impressed with the level of training, the level of recruits, the level of commitment and the level of the staff here."

The secretary had the opportunity to see Battle Stations-21 and participate in a recruit capping ceremony. He also toured the physical training facility, Freedom Hall, as well as a recruit barracks facility before joining staff members for lunch in a recruit galley.

Mabus he wants recruits in training to know how important what they are about to do is to the Navy and the nation.

"It is important not only for the ship they are on, the command that they are in, but for this country and for this world," Mabus said. "They will play a major role in keeping us safe, keeping us secure and keeping us the country that we are."

The secretary spoke of the challenges the Navy is facing in keeping the sea lanes open, combating piracy and fighting against violent extremism around the globe.

"The Navy is so important to America. We are always the away team; we are always forward deployed. We are always ready for whatever mission comes along," Mabus said. "We have got to be flexible; we have to be quick; we have got to be able to change missions. The only way we are going to meet them is with highly skilled, highly trained, highly motivated Sailors, and that is what you are producing here at Great Lakes."

Mabus was commissioned in the Navy through the ROTC program at the University of Mississippi. He served on the cruiser USS Little Rock (CG 4) as a surface warfare officer.

"Whatever success I have had in life, I'm pretty sure it might not have happened and it certainly would not have happened as easily without my time in the Navy," Mabus said. "It taught me so many things. It made me grow up. I was 21-years-old, and all the sudden I had 60 people completely dependent on me. I was a very
junior officer, and it taught me the value of teamwork and how one person can't do it all.

"I credit the Navy with a lot; it was some of the most profound time in my life."

Mabus believes his experience as a Navy veteran will serve him well as secretary of the Navy.

"I can very truthfully tell people, like these recruits that are just coming in, what an important time this is in their life and how important it is for their future," he said.

The secretary shared a story about receiving a letter from his Navy roommate.

"He sent me a letter and said 'remember all those times we were on watch and we both said this whole thing could be run better, Well, here is your chance. Run it better'," Mabus related.

"I hope the one thing I won't ever forget is who I represent here - and that is the Sailor at sea, the person who is deployed, the person who is out there doing the job; that is who I need to be concerned about," Mabus said.

This was Mabus' first visit to Naval Station Great Lakes since assuming the office of secretary of the Navy June 18.

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/midwest.



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