SASEBO, Japan (Jan. 17, 2012) – Sasebo’s Navy League held their first business meeting of 2012 during a dinner held onboard USS Essex (LHD 2) Jan. 17.
The Sasebo Navy League council acting president and 2012 Vice President James Whalen met with Capt. David Fluker, commanding officer of USS Essex, over dinner to discuss the relationship between the two organizations.
“The Sasebo Navy League council meets once a month but we come aboard Essex only once a year,” said Whalen. “Essex is the largest ship here so a large portion of the Sailors we support are on board. The commanding officer and the executive officer always open their door to us at short notice and welcome us in.”
The Navy League has three missions: to enhance the morale of active duty personnel and their families; to inform Congress and the American public on the importance of strong sea services; and to support youth through programs such as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Junior ROTC and Young Marines that expose young people to the values of our sea services.
“The Navy League here in Sasebo will stand out in the cold and the rain to welcome back its Sailors from their deployments,” said Whalen. “We volunteer our time and a substantial amount of money to recognize Sailors by giving them awards or throwing banquets. The Navy League also has very strong ties in the community of Sasebo including very influential businessmen and women from the area.”
Fluker welcomed the League aboard to have dinner in the ship’s wardroom before their monthly meeting.
“It is always a privilege to hold this meeting aboard Essex,” said Fluker. “The Sasebo Navy League is an integral part of the naval community and its efforts remain in stride with the Navy’s core values and dedication to service are noteworthy. Our relationship is not only important to the welfare of our Sailors and Marines but also mutually beneficial for both organizations.”
According to Whalen, a former Marine, many of the council members are former Navy sea service members themselves and enjoyed the opportunity to come aboard, dine in and tour Essex.
“We had a great time,” said Whalen. “The dinner was great and the Japanese members love to come here and see the ship.”
Essex is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.