SASEBO, Japan (April 20, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien)

SASEBO, Japan - The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) welcomed the 75th Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) April 20, to thank the crew for their efforts during Operation Tomodachi.

SECNAV Ray Mabus held an all hands call in the hangar bay with the crew and expressed gratitude for their providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan March 11.

“I made a special trip here to thank you all for what you do and to tell you how much pride you have brought, not only to the Navy or to the Reagan strike group, but to the United States of America,” Mabus said.

The ships of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) were the first on the scene in Japan, and began providing HADR support immediately after arriving March 13.

Mabus said the hard work and quick response by the CSG greatly helped Japan, and showed the adaptability of changing the strike group mission to meet the challenges of HADR.

“Using the same people, the same platform, the same equipment and the same training, you went from doing high-end combat training to doing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief overnight,” Mabus said. “Nobody else could have done that. The way you have taken the training to do completely different things and instead of precision strikes you’re using it to do precision humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; nobody else can do that.”

During his visit, Mabus met with the Ronald Reagan and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 leadership and was briefed on the CSG’s HADR mission and greeted Sailors and Marines throughout the ship.

Ronald Reagan departed from its homeport in San Diego Feb. 2, for a training exercise and its deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. Ronald Regan's last deployment to 7th Fleet was in 2009.