MALDIVES – The Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) arrived in the Maldives Feb. 25 in support of the U.S. Navy’s agreement to provide Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) to the Maldives Coast Guard.
The port visit will also give crew members the chance for cultural and professional exchanges with the people of the Maldives.
“Our port visit is just one small action that reflects our nation’s continued commitment to the Western Pacific,” said Higgins Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Rome Ruiz. “We view this port visit as another excellent opportunity to increase our friendship with the people of the Maldives.”
While in the Maldives, Higgins Sailors will participate in a variety of activities including maritime security training, hosting a joint physical training (PT) program with the Maldivian navy, a women’s outreach seminar and a reception with tours for more than 100 distinguished guests.
Higgins Sailors will conduct a PT exercise with Maldives Naval Defense Force (MNDF) to familiarize MNDF with the U.S. Navy’s fitness model. The exercise will include a warm-up and workout that incorporates the Navy operational fuel and fitness system which is the latest fitness exercise initiative implemented by the Navy. There will also be a discussion that includes aspects of the physical fitness assessment (PFA), how the Navy prepares for the PFA, and an open question and answer session.
Female Sailors will partake in a women’s outreach program led by Lt. Megan Granger, Higgins weapons officer. There will be a tour, lunch, and finally an open discussion about women in leadership roles.
For recreation, Higgins Sailors will have the unique opportunity to discover the Maldives through Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) renting an island exclusively for the crew. The crew will be able to experience the local culture through the beach, food, and renting outdoor gear for snorkeling and diving.
This port visit represents an opportunity to promote peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region and is an outward demonstration of U.S commitment to the Maldives and fostering relationships throughout South Asia.
USS Higgins is assigned to the Carl Vinson Strike Group homeported in San Diego, and has been operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility since departing in January 2011.
Prior to the Maldives, the ship made a port visit to Phuket, Thailand and participated in a Passing Exercise with the Royal Thai Navy.
The Carl Vinson Strike Group consists of the flagship USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, guided-missile cruisers USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and the embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 1. Ships assigned to DESRON 1 include USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Gridley (DDG 101), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Rentz (FFG 46) and USS McClusky (FFG 41).