U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY - Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) held an all-hands call with Sailors stationed aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76), July 28.
Adm. Mark Ferguson first met with officers of the wardroom for breakfast and addressed pertinent issues facing the fleet, including geopolitical concerns, the recent effects of sequestration on the surface force, and the future of unmanned systems. He also shared his personal philosophy on officer development.
"Embrace education opportunities as they present themselves and take time for professional development by stepping outside of your service," said Ferguson. "The culture of command in our service necessitates that we equip the man rather than man the equipment, and education is key to ensuring that."
As part of the all-hands call, Ferguson pinned three newly qualified Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Sailors and presented his coin to four Sailors for outstanding contributions to the mission. In his address to the crew, he discussed preserving the Navy's forward deployed presence, family support programs and recent budget cuts the service is facing.
Ferguson also commended the crew for their sustained efforts while deployed.
"Thank you to everyone for your service during this deployment and what you are contributing to the mission out here. You are the finest Sailors this Navy has ever seen," Ferguson said.
"USS Higgins was honored to host Adm. Ferguson for a visit. His presence reinforced the importance of our mission and recognized the remarkable effort the crew puts forth daily," said Cmdr. Nicole Shue, commanding officer of Higgins.
Higgins, home ported in San Diego, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.