Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russ Smith traveled to Naples, Italy, Jan. 11 to meet with forward-deployed Sailors at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples.
“This is a dynamic part of the world, and what you do day-in and day-out has strategic significance,” Gilday said. “Today China and Russia are rapidly modernizing their militaries to challenge the international order that has benefited so many for so long. But the work you do across the region from the High North to Cape of Good Hope alongside our allies and partners demonstrates our collective resolve to keep the seas free and open for all.”
During their trip, Gilday and Smith received operational briefs and toured the U.S. 6th Fleet headquarters.
“This has been a year unlike any other,” Gilday said. “It has required us to take extraordinary measures, to adapt, and lean in to support each other. Through it all, you answered the call. I am inspired by what you do every day; you have my profound thanks.”
Additionally, they toured U.S. Naval Hospital Naples, and observed COVID-19 vaccinations being administered to Sailors during the visit.
“COVID-19 will continue its attack until everyone is vaccinated and I encourage everyone to get inoculated as soon it’s available to you,” Smith said. “The CNO and I were fortunate to get our first shot last month and wholeheartedly believe in the expected results for all who participate. The COVID-19 vaccine ensures that we can continue to safeguard our national security capabilities, and am grateful to the staff at Naval Hospital Naples and all our DoD medical personnel that are helping to protect our health and bolster our mission readiness”
While in Naples, Gilday also announced his Navigation Plan to the Fleet at the Surface Navy Association National Symposium during virtual remarks.
“America is, and always will be, a maritime nation,” Gilday said. “Ultimately, the strength of our Navy is measured by our ability to control the seas and project power ashore. These functions are timeless, and for 245 years, our Navy has carried them out to protect America, deter aggression, and preserve freedom of the seas. Our geography, combined with the intricate system of trade on the oceans sustains our way of life. And decisive naval power underpins it all.”
NSA Naples is a host to approximately 8,500 personnel and more than 50 separate commands.
This visit marked Gilday’s second trip to the U.S. 6th Fleet since becoming CNO.