Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus embarked the future USS America (LHA 6) as she transited the Strait of Magellan during her maiden voyage, “America Visits the Americas,” Aug. 19.
A tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey, assigned to the “Argonauts” of Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 22 transported Mabus and members of his staff to the America.
Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, introduced Mabus during the all-hands call as the youngest Mississippi Governor to be elected in 150 years, a naval officer and “the man who brought ball caps back to the fleet.” Ponds went on to describe just a few of the Secretary’s responsibilities, such as a 150-billion-dollar annual budget, and taking care of more than 900 thousand Sailors, Marines, civilians and their families.
“I came down here to meet Sailors and Marines,” Mabus said. “For many of you, this is your first shipboard assignment and your first cruise. When I think about the Navy, the Marine Corps and how to organize it, the way I try to do it is by [using my four priorities]. When you put all four of those together, it gives us what the Navy and Marine Corps uniquely give the country, and that is presence. Being in the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time.”