Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter visits with sailors and Marines at Rota, Spain.

Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter visits with sailors and Marines at Rota, Spain. (Robert W. Garnand / U.S. Navy)

Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter made a quick swing through Naval Station Rota, Spain, this week, the final stop on his first Middle East trip.

Winter, who took over his post in early January, made the stop on the way back from a six-day trip to the Middle East, where he visited sailors and Marines on ships in the Persian Gulf and at bases in Kuwait, Bahrain and Iraq.

While there, he assessed the morale of sailors and Marines, checked conditions and examined equipment used by sea service personnel in the region, according to the secretary’s public affairs office.

While in Rota, Winter visited the Marine Corps Security Force Europe compound, base housing, airfield and port facilities.

He also conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for nine sailors from various commands, including base career counselor Petty Officer 1st Class John Hughes.

“I think this was a once-in- a-lifetime chance,” Hughes said about his re-enlisting officer.

“This re-enlistment will carry me out to the 18-year mark, and, yeah, to top this one would be kind of difficult.”

Each of the re-enlisting sailors received a commemorative coin from Winter.

Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Reasner repaid the favor, said Hughes, by slipping the secretary a Naval Hospital Rota coin during the post re-enlistment handshake.

At least four of the sailors, Hughes said, were re-enlisting for the first time.

Winter, the 74th Navy secretary, also had breakfast with a handful of sailors at the base galley before flying back to the U.S.

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