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  • 2014
Secretary of the Navy visits Marines, sailors aboard USS America

By Cpl. Christopher J. Moore, Defense Media Activity

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus addresses the Marines and Sailors of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South and the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during an all hands call held aboard the ship, Aug. 19, 2014. During the meeting, Mabus addressed the Marines and Sailors of America and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
USS America
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus addresses the Marines and Sailors of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South and the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during an all hands call held aboard the ship, Aug. 19, 2014. During the meeting, Mabus addressed the Marines and Sailors of America and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus addresses the Marines and Sailors of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South and the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during an all hands meeting held in the hangar bay, Aug. 19, 2014. During his visit, Mabus also toured the ship, had dinner with the Marines and Sailors on the mess deck and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
USS America
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus addresses the Marines and Sailors of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South and the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during an all hands meeting held in the hangar bay, Aug. 19, 2014. During his visit, Mabus also toured the ship, had dinner with the Marines and Sailors on the mess deck and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
Cpl. Carlton Mueller, a Marine with the Command Element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South, and a native of Dothan, Ala., is promoted by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during a reenlistment and promotion ceremony held aboard the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), Aug. 19, 2014. The reenlistment and promotions were held prior to an all hands meeting where Mabus addressed the Marines and Sailors with America and SPMAGTF-South. Mabus also toured the ship, had dinner with Marines and Sailors in the mess deck and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
USS America
Cpl. Carlton Mueller, a Marine with the Command Element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South, and a native of Dothan, Ala., is promoted by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during a reenlistment and promotion ceremony held aboard the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), Aug. 19, 2014. The reenlistment and promotions were held prior to an all hands meeting where Mabus addressed the Marines and Sailors with America and SPMAGTF-South. Mabus also toured the ship, had dinner with Marines and Sailors in the mess deck and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
Sergeant Maj. William Schaffer, sergeant major of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South, and a native of Roanoke, Va., recites the oath of enlistment with the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during his reenlistment held aboard the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), Aug. 19, 2014. The reenlistment and promotions were held prior to an all hands meeting where Mabus addressed the Marines and Sailors with America and SPMAGTF-South. Mabus also toured the ship, had dinner with Marines and Sailors in the mess deck and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
USS America
Sergeant Maj. William Schaffer, sergeant major of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South, and a native of Roanoke, Va., recites the oath of enlistment with the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during his reenlistment held aboard the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), Aug. 19, 2014. The reenlistment and promotions were held prior to an all hands meeting where Mabus addressed the Marines and Sailors with America and SPMAGTF-South. Mabus also toured the ship, had dinner with Marines and Sailors in the mess deck and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks with Marines and Sailors with the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South during an ice cream social held in the hero's cafe aboard the ship, Aug. 19, 2014. Mabus sat with the Marines and Sailors to allow for topics of interest to be discussed on a personal level. In addition to the ice cream social, Mabus toured the ship and held an all-hands meeting to address the Marines and Sailors. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, "America Visits the Americas." Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
Secretary of the Navy visits Marines, Sailors aboard USS America
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks with Marines and Sailors with the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South during an ice cream social held in the hero's cafe aboard the ship, Aug. 19, 2014. Mabus sat with the Marines and Sailors to allow for topics of interest to be discussed on a personal level. In addition to the ice cream social, Mabus toured the ship and held an all-hands meeting to address the Marines and Sailors. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, "America Visits the Americas." Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus eats dinner with Marines and Sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South and the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) in the mess deck aboard the ship, Aug. 19, 2014. The dinner with the Marines and Sailors allowed for topics of interest to be discussed on a personal level. In addition to dinner, Mabus toured the ship, held an all-hands call to address the crew and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
USS America
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus eats dinner with Marines and Sailors with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South and the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) in the mess deck aboard the ship, Aug. 19, 2014. The dinner with the Marines and Sailors allowed for topics of interest to be discussed on a personal level. In addition to dinner, Mabus toured the ship, held an all-hands call to address the crew and attended an ice cream social. Visits like this remind the Marines and Sailors with America and the SPMAGTF of the significance of the work they are doing. SPMAGTF-South is embarked aboard America in support of her maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas.” Through partner-nation activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Donald Holbert/ Released)
The hangar bay of the future amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) stood quiet as Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, standing beside the Honorable Michael Hammer, U.S. Ambassador to Chile, addressed hundreds of Marines and sailors with America and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South, during a visit aboard the ship in the Strait of Magellan, Aug. 19.

During his visit, Mabus held an all-hands call with Marines and sailors, conducted several promotions, a reenlistment and attended a social event with the crew.

During the all-hands call, Mabus addressed Navy-Marine Corps topics and how he prioritizes his decision-making for the branches. 

“When I think about the Navy and Marine Corps and how to organize it, I use four Ps; people, platforms, power and partnerships,” said Mabus. “All four of those, when you add them together, give the Navy and Marine Corps what they uniquely give the country, and that’s presence; being at the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time.”

Mabus dedicated time to answer questions from the Marines and sailors on topics ranging from pay and benefits to future deployments. 

“I appreciated that the Secretary of the Navy was willing to address the questions of the sailors and Marines, and saying that he would actually find the answers,” said 1st Lt. Thomas Huddleston, the logistics officer with SPMAGTF-South. “It was an opportunity for the bottom to go straight to the top.” 

Mabus conducted multiple promotions and a reenlistment ceremony at the beginning of his all–hands meeting. Hundreds of Marines and sailors stood at attention in formation while the ceremony was conducted.

“It was a great honor and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have someone of such high rank and esteem promote me,” said Cpl. Carleton Mueller, a Marine with the Command Element of SPMAGTF-South, and a native of Dothan, Ala. “Being promoted by the Secretary of the Navy in the southern most point of South America was an extraordinary experience.”

Sergeant Maj. Wesley Schaffer, sergeant major of SMPAGTF-South, and a native Roanoke, Va., was reenlisted in the Marine Corps after 24 years of service by Mabus.

“It was the chance of a lifetime to be reenlisted by the Secretary of the Navy, in the Strait of Magellan, on USS America,” Said Schaffer.

The ceremony and all-hands meeting were followed by an ice-cream social on the mess deck of the ship.  Marines and Sailors spent the time with Mabus sharing stories and enjoying his company. 

“It was very interesting,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Baldi, an operations Marine with SPMAGTF-South, and a native of Manalapan, N.J. “We talked about a lot of things like football, the countries he’s visited, where he’s going next and what the Marine Corps is doing as a whole.”

As the Marines and Sailors aboard America continue on the ship’s maiden transit, “America Visits the Americas,” they carry with them guidance and inspiration that Mabus left during his visit. The visit provided the service members with a reminder of the significance of the work they are doing during the transit.  Through partner-nations activities, theater security events and key leader engagements, the transit aims to demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners.


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