Gulf of Aden - Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Bill Moran and Fleet Master Chief April Beldo visited Sailors and Marines deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), today.

During an all-hands call on the flight deck, Moran commended service members on their accomplishments leading to the Makin Island and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's on-time deployment from Naval Station San Diego, Oct. 14.

"Fleet Master Chief April Beldo and I want to give you all a lot of love for the great things you've been doing," said Moran. "This is a pretty special ship, and to be out here is a treat for me."

He highlighted the team's performance in U.S. 7th Fleet and the importance of maintaining a sharp focus while in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. He urged the team to guard against complacency at all times during their deployment.

"Don't take your guard down, and make sure you're ready to execute the mission," he said. "America is going to watch what happens in response to what our adversaries will try to accomplish in coming months. We know that you are all prepared to answer the call when it comes. In everything that I see and everything that I read, I know that you're ready."

Moran also reenlisted six Sailors during a ceremony on the flight deck, where he encouraged all hands to join them in reciting the oath of enlistment.

"What matters most is that you all believe in what you are doing out here," he said. "Everybody back home is watching what you do on a daily basis, and they are proud."

Makin Island Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Melson said that Moran's visit emphasized to the crew and embarked Marines the importance of the work they do every day, at home and on deployment.

"We are honored that Adm. Moran is here today to commend this team on our performance and our commitment," said Melson. "5th Fleet is a dynamic operating environment, but this team proved during work-ups that we are ready to conduct a full range of amphibious missions. Adm. Moran said to keep our guard up and be ready and this team is intent on doing exactly that."

Moran last visited Makin Island Jan. 4, while serving as Chief of Naval Personnel, where he was responsible for planning and programming Navy manpower, training and education.

"Fleet Beldo and I will be delighted to watch the performance of this crew and this [Amphibious Ready Group] ARG over the next several months," he concluded. "We are just so proud of everything that you do and confident that if anything happens out here, we know that this team is ready to go."

Makin Island, the flagship of the Makin Island ARG, is deployed with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.