Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) pier side in Bahrain Dec. 10, to thank Sailors for their service during their seven-and-a-half month deployment.
Carter announced liberty call for the crew, presented challenge coins to Sailors and had lunch with Sailors on duty.
The secretary was in Bahrain to speak at a security conference but he took time out of his schedule to visit the ship, along with his wife, Stephanie.
Speaking to the crew over the ship’s public address system, Carter thanked them for their service and discussed the impact that Monterey and its crew have had on events around the world.
“You’re doing the noblest thing you can do with your life; that’s to protect our people and make a better world for our children,” Carter said. “I am 1,000 percent behind you. I really appreciate what you are doing.”
“I never expected the secretary of defense to show up here on deployment,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Logan Nuttall. “The fact that he really cares what we are doing out here is awesome and him coming out really affects a lot of people on here, not just me.”
In meeting Sailors on the decks, Carter extended holiday greetings to the crew.
“We are part of one big DoD family,” said Carter. “Happy holidays.”
Monterey, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.