Remarks: Commander Andy Strickland, USS Shoup Commanding Officer

BULA VINAKA. My name is Commander Andy Strickland, and I am the Commanding Officer of USS Shoup (DDG 86).

Firstly, thank you to the city of Suva for the heartfelt welcome back – this is Shoup’s second visit to Fiji after a short ten-day patrol of the Pacific Ocean waters, and the crew and I are very excited to be back. Your warm reception is greatly appreciated, and we are enjoying your hospitality and culture. We are grateful for the opportunity to visit such a beautiful place twice in a short time.

The U.S. Navy maintains a presence in the Indo Asia-Pacific region to help preserve peace and security, and to further partnerships with friends and allies like Fiji. All countries in this region have experienced economic prosperity largely because of the security and stability that exists at sea. We have just successfully completed a portion of our patrol partnered with Vanuatu Maritime Law Enforcement.

Fiji is a key partner in the Western Pacific, and we are here to reinforce the U.S. commitment to that partnership. We are also operating in the area with our U.S. Coast Guard partners conducting Oceania Maritime Security Initiatives, or OMSI, to ensure economic prosperity through security of the high seas and enforcement of maritime laws.

More to the point, I can confirm that my sailors continue to enjoy their time in Suva. Thank you for the warm welcome back, and I will now take any questions you may have.