By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Dominique Pineiro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West San Diego
SAN DIEGO - Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Ray Mabus, administered the oath of enlistment to more than 90 Sailors during a special pre-game ceremony before a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park Sept. 25.
In front of a crowd of thousands, Sailors stood at attention, raised their right hand and recited the oath to extend their time in the Navy.
"Fewer than 1 percent of America wears the uniform," said Mabus. "I think it's really important to make sure the other 99 percent understand how important the military is to them and understand how skilled they are... when these guys deploy they're America's away team."
Mabus said he appreciated the level of support the Navy and Marine Corps received from the Padres organization and the San Diego area.
"The whole community of San Diego has taken the Navy and Marine Corps in," said Mabus. "It's one of the reasons when they finish their military career service they decide they want to live in San Diego... the level of support (we) receive in the San Diego area is absolutely phenomenal."
Sarah Farmsworth, senior vice president of public affairs for the San Diego Padres, said many service members use Petco Park and the San Diego Padres for their reenlistment ceremonies, but this was the first time the SECNAV administered one.
"We're so honored to have him out here. The entire community is excited," she said. "We have a number of Sailors who request to reenlist at the park. It makes us pretty proud they use our platform to have their ceremony and it helps San Diegans understand what San Diego means to our Sailors."
In addition to the reenlistment ceremony, a special video was played on the park's big screen highlighting the capabilities of one of the Navy's newest class of ship - the littoral combat ship (LCS).
Mabus said a total of more than 50 of the LCS-class ships are ordered or scheduled to be built in the near future. He stressed the importance of informing the general public about the LCS, saying it does a lot of the tasks the Navy has to do.
"We've got two LCSs at (Naval Base San Diego) right now," he said. "The LCS is going to be one of the backbones of the fleet of the future... and getting people to understand what the Navy does and how we do it and what sort of equipment we use is important."