Fleet master chief thanks Sailors for disaster relief efforts

Fleet Master Chief John Minyard

U.S. Pacific Fleet

Aloha, shipmates, and welcome back to another edition of Fleet’s Quarters!

If it seems like a long time since we’ve had a chance to chat, that’s because it has been. I apologize for that, but April was a pretty busy month for us here in the Pacific, and I decided to forego last month’s newsletter in order to focus on the important tasks at hand.

I don’t mean to imply that our discussions here in Fleet’s Quarters aren’t important, quite the opposite, but sometimes events happen that demand our immediate and full attention. In this case, I’m referring to the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) efforts we undertook in support of our friends and allies in Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

I have been proud to call myself a Sailor for many years now, but perhaps never moreso than during the months of March and April when I witnessed the monumental effort you put forth to help the Japanese people in their time of need.

Many of you were directly involved in the recovery and assistance operations, and I’m sure the rest of you know at least some of the details of what these Shipmates accomplished, but let me summarize it for you.

During Operation Tomodachi, U.S. forces delivered HADR aid from March 13 through April 7 to survivors of the tsunami and earthquake in support of Japan Self Defense Force efforts. A total of 22 ships, 140 aircraft and nearly 20,000 personnel participated in Operation Tomodachi.

U.S. 7th Fleet forces delivered more than 260 tons of relief supplies and flew more than 160 aerial reconnaissance and search sorties. This was one of the largest humanitarian assistance efforts ever undertaken by the U.S. and you all performed superbly.

Although this was a tragic and terrible event, it gave us an opportunity to review and improve our processes for contingency situations and will help us be better prepared for future events. It also provided a powerful reminder as to why sustained combat readiness is critical to mission accomplishment, regardless of what that mission is.

In this case, the location and readiness of our forward-deployed forces allowed them to respond quickly and effectively when the call for assistance was received.

It is this “warrior mentality” that has enabled us to become the professional service that we are today – an ethos that demands the strongest level of commitment, the strictest level of discipline and the highest ideals. Our Navy motto declares us to be a global force for good and you certainly proved that in this case. Job well done, shipmates.

Speaking of commitment and high ideals, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to congratulate the outstanding petty officers who were here last month to compete in the FY- 2010 Pacific Fleet Sailor of the Year competition. We interviewed nine outstanding candidates this year and I must tell you the caliber and motivation of these Sailors is truly inspirational.

Our Navy has a bright future ahead with shipmates like this and I want to thank all of you for contributing to their success.

What do I mean by that? I mean these candidates didn’t get here all on their own; they had the benefit of some excellent mentorship from our senior enlisted community, the support of their family and friends, and the opportunity to lead the finest Sailors in the fleet.

Please join me in congratulating our Sea Sailor of the Year, HM1 Andrew Jenkins, and our Shore Sailor of the Year, OS1 Kristi Pashkevich. Outstanding job, best wishes to both of you!

Thanks for your time shipmates and thanks for all you do.

Very respectfully,
Fleet Minyard

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Category: News