When James Honea became Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy last week, he had a message for his fellow sailors: “You can depend on us to fight for you,” according to Military.com, which noted Honea was including Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, the top officer, as part of “us.”

Honea takes over for now-retired Master Chief Russell Smith, who had made remarks that some sailors felt were dismissive of their challenges.

Honea “brings the exact kind of professional experience we need for this immense responsibility,” Gilday said. “I’ve said it before: He’s got saltwater running through his veins.”

Honea’s office said he “will be making his way around the fleet to discuss and work with sailors to get after his top priorities.”

Honea’s first fleet visit was at an all-hands call at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anna Van Nuys