Updated: Friday, 09 Nov 2012, 7:19 PM EST
Published : Friday, 09 Nov 2012, 1:38 PM EST
NORFOLK, Va. (AP/WAVY) - The Navy is telling its leaders around the world to refocus their efforts on preventing sexual assaults after two sailors were arrested in Japan on rape charges.
The alleged rape was reported Oct. 16 in Okinawa, leading to an uproar on the island and a sharp rebuke from the Japanese government.
"It is the responsibility of every commander to make sure their Sailors are properly representing the U.S. Navy regardless of where they are or what they are doing," wrote Admiral Cecil Haney and Admiral William Gortney.
The commanders of U.S. Fleet Forces in Virginia and U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii sent a message to sailors in leadership positions last week saying they are appalled that such violent criminal behavior reportedly emerged from their ranks.
They say this incident and other sexual assaults have negatively impacted the fleet's readiness and reputation.
"Our warfighting strategy relies in part on the willingness of host nations to provide our forces access to their ports," Haney and Gortney wrote. "To support this mission area, our Sailors must be exemplary ambassadors of our Navy and our nation."
According to the Navy, there were 496 sexual assaults reported in fiscal year 2012, more than half of which involved alcohol.
They noted that U.S. strategy relies in part on host nations providing access to their ports, requiring sailors to be exemplary ambassadors.
Additionally, U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief John Minyard sent the following message to Sailors from Navy Region Hawaii:
"We have to own good order and discipline within our commands, at every level of leadership, and I believe we can do that," Minyard said. "You need to know your people, you need to lead your people, and you need to be involved in their decisions. Every Sailor, E-1 thru O-10, has a responsibility to look out for the safety of each other and to always hold themselves to the highest levels of accountability for their actions at home and abroad," he said. "If we start having the moral courage to step in and stop destructive behavior before it occurs, we can eliminate these incidents."
Opinions that are derogatory, attack other users or are offensive in nature may be removed. WAVY is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section. We reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic remark or thread. To mark a comment for review by a moderator, click "Flag as inappropriate."