Guam – The vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) visited Naval Base Guam Feb. 24 to meet with base leaders and Sailors.
During the one-day stop, Adm. Mark Ferguson met with Rear Adm. Paul Bushong, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, toured base infrastructure and spoke to Sailors at an all hands call.
“My visit to Guam concludes an enlightening and informative Western Pacific trip,” said Ferguson. “The opportunity to dialogue with regional partners, as well as our Sailors, is important to gaining a better understanding and appreciation for the significance of the region.”
In meetings with Bushong and his senior staff, VCNO discussed the new defense strategy and upcoming force posture review, as well as the strategic role that Guam plays in sustaining Navy forward presence and engagement.
“The Navy remains critical to national security and economic prosperity,” said Ferguson. “We are uniquely positioned to rapidly respond to any crisis; our forces in Guam provide needed logistic support and capability to allies and partners in the region.”
During his all hands call Ferguson thanked Sailors and their families for the important work they do in supporting the Fleet. He discussed the Navy’s role in the new strategy, the role of naval forces in the Western Pacific, and recent force balancing initiatives.
VCNO told the audience that competition has never been greater to join the force and that the Navy has experienced record levels of high retention and low attrition. These factors necessitated programs like Perform to Serve (PTS) and the Enlisted Retention Board (ERB).
When discussing ERB Ferguson said “this was not a decision that Navy leadership came to lightly, but is one that has already created better advancement opportunities and increased PTS quotas for Sailors to reenlist.”
“I do not anticipate the need to do another ERB,” he added.
Ferguson specifically encouraged those affected by ERB to take advantage of the transition and support services being provided to them and their families.
After taking questions, VCNO concluded the all hands call by expressing his appreciation for the Sailors “dedication and service.”
“You are making a difference here every day,” he said. “Your sacrifices allow our Navy to focus on warfighting first, to operate forward, and to be ready for what ever challenges may be ahead.”
Ferguson has been traveling through out the U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) to meet with regional partners and U.S. personnel to discuss U.S. Navy Pacific engagement. Following Guam he will return to Washington, D.C.