SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia - Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Sailors and Marines attended a reception with senior military and civilian officials from the U.S., Cambodia and other nations aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), Dec. 17.
The event celebrated the cooperation between the two countries through community service events and various theater security cooperation exercises, which started Dec. 12.
"No mission is more worthwhile or more satisfying then the one that works to build defense relationships," said Cmdr. Homer Denius, USS Pearl Harbor commanding officer. "Over the past five days we have enjoyed a professional military two-way exchange, began community service projects at local sites and had liberty in this beautiful country."
During the reception, Denius welcomed the commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy, Vice Adm. Tea Vinh, as an honored guest.
Vinh addressed Sailors and Marines, and spoke about the importance of strengthening military ties.
"I strongly believe that the visit from USS New Orleans and USS Pearl Harbor has brought magnificent advantages for both the Cambodian military and the U.S.," said Vinh.
After Vinh spoke, USS New Orleans (LPD 18) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Dennis Jacko; Marine Combat Logistics Battalion 11 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Andrew Bergen; and Denius presented gifts on behalf of their crews to members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
Pearl Harbor, New Orleans and amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with the embarked 11th MEU, make up the Makin Island ARG.
The ARG deployed from San Diego Nov. 14, and is currently supporting the nation's maritime strategy in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
The mission of the Makin Island ARG is to help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and provide humanitarian/disaster response as well as supporting the nation's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.
The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.
More than half of the world's population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.