Secretary of the Navy visits USS Enterprise

30 Nov 2007 | Cpl. John Jackson

 The Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, boarded the USS Enterprise Saturday to meet and greet the Marines and sailors onboard and take a short tour of the ship.

 After arriving, Winter quickly made his way to the hangar bay to talk with sailors and Marines, as well as to thank them for their dedicated service.

 “I am here to thank you for everything you are doing on behalf of our Navy and our Nation,” Winter said. “The effects your efforts are having, combined with the effects the joint operations are having, are making a big difference. Recently, I was in Fallujah, and being able to walk the streets at night and being able to walk through and have the kids come out, shows things are changing.”

 After speaking to the crew, the Marines and sailors had their opportunity to ask the Secretary of the Navy questions, as well as receive a few coins.

 “It’s motivating to know that our chain of command, even the Secretary of the Navy, knows about our fight out here,” said Cpl. Jason Payne, the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 armorer. “He let us know that the work we are doing out here and all the man-hours we’re putting into this deployment really mean something.”

 “I thought that it was very thoughtful of him to take the time to come out and pay us a visit,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Natasha Raines, an aviation ordnance technician for the Sidewinders of Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 86. “It was nice to meet such a down-to-earth man who was willing to thank his sailors and Marines for a job well done.

 He could have sent a letter, but he thought that it would be important to show his presence here."

 “I can send as many Navy messages as I want, but coming out here physically does so much more,” he said.

 The SecNav ended his speech with a message for all the crew.

 “Thank all of you very much,” he said. “God bless you. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and I hope you have a fine cruise out here.”