New Navy effort to reach out to sailors

Service to tackle human issues, behavior

SAN DIEGO - The Navy is now taking unprecedented steps reach out to its sailors.

"My job is to listen to the fleet," and with that, Rear Adm. Sean Buck began his first-ever visit to San Diego as the director of the newly created 21st Century Sailor office. "My job is to deal with the human side of the Navy and the only way to effectively do that is eyeball to eyeball."

A number of training programs have been started not only by the Navy but other branches of the Armed Forces to tackle everything from sexual assault to suicide, but those messages were largely forgotten after a certain amount of time.

"Don't be afraid or avoid any hard topic," Buck implored 100 or so sailors at the base theater, as he wanted to hear from them and how to better connect with them.

"Should I have a Facebook page?" he asked. The resounding answer was yes.  

"He's definitely going to get a lot of feedback from us because we post a lot of our daily problems on Facebook," said Omni Gipson, one of the sailors in the theater.

Others appreciated the fact that someone is willing to listen.

"I love the fact that he came to talk and is concerned about how we function in the Navy," said Anna Nunez.

Staffing issues to changes in the uniform they wear were discussed.

"He's not just listening to us and putting it under the rug, he's trying to fix it," Gipson said.

Buck will spend a few days in San Diego to talk to as many sailors as possible, but his goal over the next seven months is to travel throughout the fleet to reach out globally.

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