CAIRNS, Australia – Sailors and embarked U.S. 7th Fleet staff members welcomed Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III aboard U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during a port visit July 29.
Locklear is visiting commands throughout the PACOM area of responsibility to communicate command objectives and to receive feedback from sailors.
During his visit, Locklear spoke to sailors about the importance of the U.S. Navy’s role in the Pacific theater and thanked them for their successful roles during Talisman Saber 2013 (TS-13), an exercise between U.S. and Australian forces which concluded July 28.
“TS-13 has been a great demonstration of the alliance between the U.S. and Australia,” said Locklear. “I want to thank each and every one of you for your great performance during this important operation.”
Locklear was joined by Australian Army Gen. David Hurley who also commended Blue Ridge and 7th Fleet staff for their performances.
“TS-13 was a very successful operation for both the U.S. and Australian forces,” said Hurley. “On a day-to-day basis, we made a terrific effort during this exercise, and your professionalism does not go unnoticed.”
TS-13, which included more than 27,000 U.S. and Australian personnel, is a biennial training activity aimed at improving U.S. combat and Australian Defense Force readiness and interoperability as a Combined Joint Task Force. The exercise is designed to enhance multilateral collaboration in support of future combined operations, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters and illustrates the closeness of the U.S. and Australian military-to-military relationship.
As the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott Swift, Blue Ridge is crucial in maintaining a presence in the South Indo-Asia-Pacific region, strengthening allied ties through community service projects and conducting joint military exercises with regional partners.