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YOKOSUKA, Japan - Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday met with 7th Fleet Sailors during a regional visit to Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), Sept. 23.
During the visit, Gilday spent time aboard the 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and met with the fleet’s new commander, Vice Adm. Bill Merz. CNO took time to meet and engage with Sailors and hear their feedback through small-group discussions.
"There's nothing like hearing directly from Sailors. They gave me some really great feedback that I will take back with me to the Pentagon,” said Gilday. “There is real value in connecting with Sailors. Their feedback helps us prioritize our resources in ways that are most beneficial to the fleet.”
CNO walked various spaces aboard the flagship, meeting Sailors from many different rates and ranks.
“I think it shows the junior Sailors that the higher ups do come talk to us,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Madison Barkman, Blue Ridge Medical, assistant lead petty officer. “He not only talked to us about things like where we’re from and how we do our job in the environment that we’re in, we also talked about the exam room I was in, he asked about the capabilities of our basic treatment room, sick call and medical readiness.”
Gilday’s Yokosuka visit marks his first engagement with 7th Fleet since being appointed CNO on Aug. 22. He also visited with Sailors aboard USS Shiloh (CG 67) as part of the day spent along the waterfront. Gilday continued his visit in Tokyo, meeting with leadership from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and Ministry of Defense, reaffirming the U.S. Navy’s commitment to strengthening maritime partnership as well as the alliance between the two nations.
The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.