US Navy destroyer visits Tonga

A United States warship on Monday made a port call in Tonga as part of its routine patrols and maritime security operations in the Pacific regions.

The USS Spruance (DDG 111), a guided-missile destroyer from the US Navy’s 3rd Fleet, arrived at capital Nukuʻalofa for a three-day visit, the US embassy said in a statement.

The crew, joined by the staff from the US Embassy in Suva is expected to host a reception on board with guests of honor, King Tupou VI and Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni and to engage in community relations activities.

“We value our partnership with the Tongan government and are committed to strengthening our cooperative maritime relationships as the basis for maritime security and prosperity,” said Cmdr. Manuel Hernandez, commanding officer, USS Spruance.

The ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors departed San Diego Apr. 19 for a regularly scheduled deployment as a part of a Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG).

Under the operational control of U.S. 3rd Fleet, the PAC SAG is scheduled to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional solidity.

“Security and stability at sea serve as the foundation for economic prosperity in the region,” said Hernandez. “Together with our partners, we are committed to keeping the sea lanes open for the benefit of all.”

While in the region, Spruance is also expected to participate in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) with Law Enforcement Detachment 108 from Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team, based out of San Diego.

Upon completion of OMSI, the ship will continue operations in the Indo-Asia- Pacific operating with the PAC SAG.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

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