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CNO and MCPON Conduct Trip to Indo-Pacific to Underscore Commitment to Allies, Visit Sailors

WASHINGTON, DC – Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea traveled to Guam, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to underscore the U.S. Navy’s unwavering focus on the Indo-Pacific and to engage with forward- deployed Sailors, Nov. 20-25.

Franchetti and Honea began their trip in Guam with an all-hands call. The dialogue covered topics like quality of service initiatives and recruiting, it also centered on Franchetti’s focus on the important role of our forward-postured forces serving at Joint Region Marianas and on applying a warfighting lens to everything the Navy does.

“I am incredibly proud of the work you do, providing options, flexibility, and decision space to our Nation’s leaders. What you do matters every day to our Navy and to our Nation,” said Franchetti. “Each of you are forward-deployed supporting our allies and partners and reinforcing our strategic relationships in this very critical region of the world. As I begin my tenure as CNO I’m focused on ensuring you have what you need to preserve the peace, respond in crisis, and, if called, win decisively in war.”

MCPON echoed Franchetti’s sentiments on strengthening the Navy team.

“I’d ask that everyone in this room be very clear on what their priorities are, focus on what matters, then ask yourself, ‘how can I get better? How can I help my shipmates be better?’” Honea said.  “I charge all of you to be a citizen and belong – make your teams better. Make our Navy better.”

The next stop on their Indo-Pacific tour was Japan, where they met officials and military leaders, to include Japan’s Defense Minister, Kihara Minoru; Yokosuka Mayor Kamiji Katsuaki; Chief of Staff, Joint Staff Gen. Yoshida Yoshihide, and Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Adm. Sakai Ryo. During these engagements Franchetti discussed the strength of the U.S.- Japan alliance and the importance of the Navy-to-Navy relationship in facing the challenges to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Throughout her discussions, CNO emphasized the value of planning, exercising and operating together to enhance interoperability between the two fleets. She further expressed how the strong network of allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific ensures the stability and security of the region and facilitates the preservation of the rules-based international order.

“Our Navy is the world’s premier all-domain warfighting force, made even more effective through our strong relationships with allies and partners in the Indo-pacific region,” said Franchetti.

Following the key leader engagements, CNO and MCPON spent Thanksgiving serving the holiday meal and dining with the crew aboard the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Additionally, they visited crew members forward-deployed aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113). 

“MCPON and I chose to visit this region for my first trip as CNO to underscore the significance of our maritime operations and alliances in the Indo-Pacific; we chose to visit at this time to recognize our Sailors serving overseas and deployed during the holiday season,” said Franchetti.

Busan, ROK was the final leg of the trip, where CNO and MCPON met with the ROK Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Yang Yong-mo and ROK MCPON Eom Ha-il.

During her discussions with Yang, Franchetti noted that for seven decades the U.S. - ROK relationship has proven to be among the most capable, cooperative, and durable bilateral partnership in the world, bolstering peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific.

This stop also marked CNO and MCPON’s first return to ROK since serving there together from 2014 to 2015 as then Commander, Naval Forces Korea and Command Master Chief. MCPON remarked on their shared history and consistent focus on the Navy’s most strategic asset – Sailors.

“Our titles may have changed, but our vision remains the same – to support and develop Sailors that are strong leaders and experts. Sailors who will live, teach, and enforce standards to make each other and our Navy stronger every day,” said Honea. 

Franchetti underscored that point when speaking to Sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), who are conducting a port visit in Busan during their Western-Pacific deployment. 

“Our Navy can have the best equipment, ships, submarines, and aircraft, but without Sailors they go nowhere and do nothing,” said Franchetti. “Our people – our Sailors and our Civilians - are our true secret weapons.  They give us a decisive edge, and because of them, our Navy remains the preeminent fighting force on, under, and above the seas.”

This was CNO and MCPON’s first international trip together since her confirmation.