NAVAL AIR FACILITY MISAWA, Japan - The commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet visited Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa, Oct. 16-17, touring the base, meeting with Sailors, and conducting an all-hands call.
During the call, Adm. Cecil Haney took the opportunity to field questions from the hundreds of Sailors attached to NAF Misawa and its tenant and deployed commands.
"I think the Navy Misawa team can be summed up in one word: impressive," said Haney, following the all-hands call. "I've had an opportunity to meet with their quality leadership, and then I got to hear from the men and women who make up this great team. It's absolutely apparent to me that this is a team that is engaged and understands their crucial role in providing peace and stability in the vital Asia-Pacific region."
Haney also took time to explain Pacific Fleet's priorities for the coming years, which include warfighting readiness, a purposeful forward presence, the importance of family, and regional partnerships and alliances. Specifically, Haney highlighted the important relationship the U.S. shares with Japan.
"The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability within the region," he said. "Literally, not a day goes by that our two militaries aren't somehow working shoulder-to-shoulder, and that is a reflection of the deep, mutual understanding that we have for one another.
"We rely heavily on their leadership in this region, and it is their steady and stable hand that will help ensure security and prosperity in the future."
As the U.S. Navy continues to rebalance its force structure toward Asia Pacific, Haney said the importance of NAF Misawa to the PACFLT Area of Responsibility (AOR) has never been greater.
"We have a strong naval presence now in the Pacific, to include the great contributions by the team here in Misawa, but we'll continue to strengthen that presence with improved capability over the next 5-to-10 years," said Haney. "We will also be innovative and creative with our approach to rotational presence, where we can send our forces in, conduct exercises, advance regional partnerships and alliances, and work to develop the capabilities of our partners."
Haney is in the midst of a weeklong tour of Commander, Naval Forces Japan installations throughout Japan and the Republic of Korea. His visit to Misawa offered Sailors some firsthand insight into the mission, vision and guiding principles of PACFLT, while also putting the Navy Misawa mission in perspective in terms of the larger picture.
"I really am walking away with a better understanding of why we are here in Misawa and the important role we are playing within the Pacific Fleet AOR," said Naval Aircrewman (Avionics) 1st Class Scott Counselman, a native of Orlando, Fla. "Admiral Haney discussed numerous topics ranging from sequestration to manpower, along with a whole lot of big ticket issues. We are definitely making an impact here in Misawa."
Haney took the time to emphasize the importance of having quality Sailors operating within the AOR.
"The Sailors of the forward deployed naval forces are the backbone of everything we do here in the Asia-Pacific region," he said. "Along with their families, they are foundation of our presence and strength. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say 'thank you' for their dedication, sacrifice, and commitment to our great nation."