NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Secretary of the Navy made his final visit to Naval Air Station Jacksonville on Thursday as he nears the end of his tenure.
Naval Secretary Ray Mabus thanked sailors for their service and spoke with the media about a variety of topics, including the future of Mayport and the importance of eradicating sexual assault in the Navy.
Mabus said that there were 21 ships at Naval Station Mayport in 2009, and by 2023 there will be 41.
“Mayport's doing really well,” he said.
He said he still supports bringing a carrier to Mayport, but that goal was pushed back because of the budget.
Mabus also spoke passionately about the issue of sexual assault in the military.
“It's a crime. It's an absolute crime,” he said. “It rips the fabric of the Navy, Marine Corps, armed forces. It's an attack on a shipmate, and we've got to get rid of it. People have an obligation, if they see something happen, to step in.”
He said the Navy is taking actions against the culture of sexual assault.
“This is not just 'Sailors will be sailors.' It's a crime,” Mabus said. “We've got to get rid of it.”
As far as recent issues with the new Littoral Combat Ship class, Mabus said every new ship class has its problems and there is not a fundamental issue with the LCS class.
“I went back into the 60s and looked at every new ship class, at the reports done on them, every one, 'This is a terrible ship. This ship isn't going to work,'” Mabus said. “In fact, when the frigates came in, which the LCS is replacing, there was a report that said if you serve your sailor on a frigate, you ought to get submarine pay because it's going to sink.”