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."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
State police is conducting a criminal investigation after a vehicle crashing into a residence on the Eastern Shore.
David Karl Becker, a Navy SEAL, was arrested on four charges related to stealing and selling government-owned firearms and ammunition.
Newport News Police said they are looking for the person who drove into the wall of a car wash and stole a control box.
Virginia lawmakers and officials commented on the passing of Nelson Mandela Friday, December 5, 2013. Mandela was 95 years old.
The Chesapeake Police Department is seeking any information about these 10 wanted suspects. If you know anything, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue officials said a train went off its track Dec. 5, 2013 in the area of East Princess Anne and Ingleside roads.
HazMat crews have identified the material on a derailed train in Norfolk as cement. East Princess Anne and Ingleside roads have reopened to traffic.