Story Number: NNS140402-28Release Date: 4/2/2014 9:58:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Donald R. White Jr.
USS Bulkeley Public Affairs
Civitavecchia, Italy (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus visited Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) while the ship was moored at Civitavecchia, Italy, for a scheduled port visit, April 1.
Mabus was in Italy to sign an agreement on alternative fuels that will be used by the fleet in order to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and subsidize the Navy's carbon footprint.
"Although I am here on business, it was important to me to get out to Bulkeley and personally thank the crew for all the hard work they have done over the past eight months," said Mabus.
"I was a cruiser and destroyer Sailor when I was in the Navy. I like carriers and I like submarines, and I also want the crew to know I like the small surface combatant ships too. I take pride in being able to acknowledge Sailors who don't get told 'thank you' enough."
Mabus addressed the crew at an all-hands call, during which, he spoke to the Sailors about the 21st Century Sailor/Marine effort, the importance of what the crew accomplished on deployment and fielded questions. After the all-hands call, Mabus awarded five Sailors with the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
"Being recognized by the Secretary of the Navy is definitely a morale booster and lets me know that all of our hard work and sacrifice doesn't go unnoticed," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Neil Sood, one of the Sailors who was awarded the medal. "SECNAV was very personable and I think we were all grateful that he took time out of his schedule to come here and thank us."
Mabus concluded his visit with lunch on the enlisted mess decks with junior sailors on board.
"It is important to me to interact with the junior Sailors. We expect great work out of every single Sailor, regardless of rate, rank or how junior you are," he said. "Interacting with them gives me pride, confidence and a lot of hope for the future of our Navy. We have the greatest expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known and it is because of the Sailors, and particularly, the Sailors who are coming in that are new."
"We were extremely honored to host the Secretary of the Navy," said Cmdr. Matthew Phillips, Bulkeley's commanding officer. "It was a very uplifting visit for the crew which for the last eight months has shown so much dedication to our mission as part of America's away team. Each one of our Sailors has worked hard every day and shown amazing determination and for SECNAV to take time out of his schedule to visit us today, it says a lot about the way our Sailors have performed while forward-deployed."