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NEWS | Sept. 20, 2007

Latest Pacific Fleet Podcast: Training, Environment Top Priority

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shane Tuck U.S. Pacific Fleet

Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Robert F. Willard released his second edition of the "Rat-Pac Report" podcast Sept. 19 relaying to Sailors, civilians, Navy families and the public his messages on the importance of training in the Navy and our responsibilities to the environment.

It is crucial that U.S. Navy assets continue training in order to protect the safety of our armed forces and the economic vitality of our nation and our friends and allies. In his podcast, Willard speaks about significance of training to readiness.

"I think the subjects of readiness and training are interdependent; you can't be ready without training," Willard said. "Our Sailors have to constantly practice and train to their tasks, or they lose their edge ... they lose that skill set. We have many perishable skills in the Navy. Across these many perishable skills, training, in addition to education, is just fundamental to our being as ready as we must be."

The Navy implements 29 separate marine mammal mitigation measures, which were coordinated with and approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service, to safeguard marine mammals during all major exercises, such as listening actively for mammals, taking appropriate action when marine mammals are spotted, defining safety zones around ships, employing night vision and thermal imaging equipment and stationing trained lookouts.

"We're good stewards of the ocean environment," Willard said. "We've seen a great evolution in the Navy in stewardship ... advancing abilities to protect the environment in the way that we do business on our ships, in the way that we handle waste material, things that are policies and procedures that are commonplace among our Sailors now that weren't necessarily many years ago. So, we've evolved greatly as stewards of the environment. We regard ourselves as the finest in the world at it."

The Navy remains committed to research to better understand the potential effects of training on the environment to ensure Navy policy and compliance are based on the best known scientific research and information available.

"For the next couple of years we're actually conducting impact studies to the maritime environment to understand what effects that we may have on mammal populations, sensitive coral reefs and areas throughout the maritime domain," Willard said. "We study this and adapt as necessary to protecting the environment to the extent that we can."

The podcast is available for download on the Pacific Fleet Web site, www.cpf.navy.mil. 

A new "Rat-Pac Report" is scheduled to appear on www.cpf.navy.mil every Wednesday. 

In coming weeks, podcasts will focus on the commander's vision, mission and guiding principles, as well as diversity and leadership.