By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tracey L. Whitley, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet Public Affairs
MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) conducted an all-hands call with Sailors and Marines stationed at Naval Support Activity (NSA), Bahrain, Nov. 23.
This marked the first time Adm. Mark E. Ferguson III visited service members stationed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) since becoming VCNO in August.
Ferguson, along with Total Force Fleet Master Chief Scott Benning, discussed the future of the force, what is expected of Sailors today, and the importance of theater operations to the Navy and nation. The two answered questions on a range of topics to include budget cuts, the enlisted retention board, and benefits.
"The Navy may be a smaller force, but our missions have never been more relevant than right now. I am here with my wife because what we care about most is taking care of you and your families, ensuring that you have the right tools, training and support structure to do your job. We really have enjoyed spending the Thanksgiving holiday with our Navy family."
Additionally, four Sailors were given the unique opportunity to be re-enlisted by the VCNO.
"I'm re-enlisting for six more years and I feel honored that the Navy's second-highest ranking officer is taking time out of his busy schedule to re-enlist me today," said Yeoman 1st Class Derrick Cunningham.
Ferguson concluded with a few words of encouragement to all those serving in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
"Around the globe, forward-deployed naval forces are making a difference," said Ferguson. "Specifically in this AOR, your incredible pride and professionalism are a model that other navies around the world try to emulate. Each of you represent the very best our nation has to offer and I thank you for your service."
After the all-hands call, the VCNO held a short meeting with spouses, Fleet and Family Support staff, and ombudsmen. The event was an open forum that allowed spouses to discuss their concerns with the VCNO directly.
"It's very important for me to take the time to thank spouses and those who support our Navy," said Ferguson. "Sailors could not do the wonderful job they do day in and day out without the support of you all."