Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus holds “All Hands Call” at Naval Station Norfolk


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus held an “All Hands Call” at Naval Station Norfolk Friday.

Mabus took questions and posed for photos with Sailors and Marines.

He talked about a range of issues, including the recent threat to Navy ships from Yemen, deployments, and the elimination of uniforms nicknamed “Blueberries.” He was expecting questions about a recent shift in identifying enlisted Sailors from their job title, such as “Master at Arms” to their rank, like “Petty Officer.”

“Are you worried about it creating an atmosphere of jack of all trades, master of none?” one person asked.

Mabus said he understands there will be questions and thinks Sailors will grow to like the new system.

“The main reason we’re doing this is to make promotions easier, is to make your next duty station more flexible, and when you leave the Navy, is to make the next job easier to get,” he said.

Recent deployments have lasted eight or nine months.

“We’ve stretched you a lot. Our deployments have gotten longer, they’ve gotten more uncertain. We’re trying to mitigate that, trying to make your careers, your deployments a little more certain,” he said.

But he added, the world gets a vote in where the Navy goes.

“We’re getting there and again, it’s not going to be perfect, it’s not always going to stick in terms of deployments because the world’s circumstances change,” Mabus said.

Mabus was in Hampton Roads on Thursday to tour Newport News Shipbuilding where he checked on the progress of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford.

During his visit Thursday Mabus discussed the delays with the Ford and the recent attack on Norfolk-based ships in Yemen.

Erin Kelly will bring you complete coverage of Secretary Mabus’ visit to Norfolk on WAVY News at 4 p.m.