In the Military
Atlantic carrier joins exercise in Pacific
The movement of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Enterprise from the Gulf of Oman to the Pacific region is not tied to the current missile crisis in North Korea, Navy officials here maintain, but is part of an exercise planned for next month.
In February, Adm. Gary Roughead, Pacific Fleet commander, told the Asia Society: "This summer you will see some significant activity in the Pacific, multiple aircraft carriers operating together with their associated forces, operating at some times with other nations' navies in the region. In point of fact, one of the carriers that will be operating in the Pacific is an Atlantic Fleet carrier. That has not been done in a long time." The Enterprise belongs to the Atlantic Fleet.
In June, three carrier strike groups -- USS Kitty Hawk, USS Reagan and USS Lincoln -- participated in Valiant Shield, the largest carrier operation since the Vietnam War. The Lincoln is now in Hawaii for the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises.
The Pearl Harbor-based salvage ship USS Salvor joined the minelayer USS Patriot last week as part of the fourth U.S. Navy visit to a Vietnamese port and the third to Ho Chi Minh City since normalization of diplomatic relations in 1995.
The visit marked the first time that two U.S. Navy ships visited Vietnam, the Navy said in a news release. Both ships flew the Vietnamese flag alongside the U.S. flag during the Saigon river transit, a symbol, said the commanding officers, of the unified relations that the two nations are continually developing.
Salvor's commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Colby Howard, noted the importance of this visit in national diplomacy, saying, "The visit is part of both countries' efforts to promote mutual understanding and continue the improvement of bilateral relations."
During their visit, the crews carried out a community service renovation project at the Thien Binh Orphanage in Dong Nai province. U.S. sailors also played a volleyball match with sailors from the Vietnamese navy, conducted ship tours for invited guests, and visited historical and cultural sites around Ho Chi Minh City.
Rear Adm. Townsend Alexander will assume command of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific on Aug. 8 at Pearl Harbor, relieving Rear Adm. Michael Vitale, who will command the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and Carrier Strike Group 2.
» Rear Adm. Thomas P. Meek, Pacific Fleet deputy chief of staff for intelligence, will become deputy director of client relationships, signals intelligence directorate, at the National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Md.
» Capt. Randall Hendrickson has assumed command of the cruiser USS Lake Erie, relieving Capt. Joseph Horn.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com