April 30, 2017 – USS Sterett arrived in Hong Kong, April 29, the first foreign port visit of the group’s Western Pacific deployment.
The command staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 and the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), along with an embarked helicopter detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, departed from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, April 14. USS Dewey (DDG 105) and an embarked helicopter detachment from HSM 78 are conducting operations off the coast of Guam during Sterett’s Hong Kong visit.
During the transit from Hawaii to Hong Kong, Sterett and DESRON 31 Sailors conducted a series of exercises, including seamanship and damage control training, as well as flight operations. Sterett additionally executed a maneuvering and tracking event with the USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Amphibious Ready Group, April 22.
While in Hong Kong, Sterett and DESRON 31 Sailors will take advantage of multiple morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) tours of the area and will participate in community service events.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of Hong Kong after a long transit across the Pacific,” said Cmdr. Claudine Caluori, commanding officer of Sterett. “As our first liberty port, we are eager to experience the rich culture and history that Hong Kong has to offer while strengthening our relationships within the region.”
Throughout its deployment, the Sterett-Dewey SAG will operate with regional naval services to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability in the Western Pacific.
U.S. 3rd Fleet retained control of the Sterett-Dewey SAG when it crossed the international dateline, April 17, into what has traditionally been U.S. 7th Fleet’s operational control area. U.S. 3rd Fleet operating forward offers additional options to the Pacific Fleet commander by leveraging the capabilities of both the 3rd and 7th fleets. This operational concept allows both numbered fleets to complement one another and provide the foundation of stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
“The Sterett-Dewey SAG is excited to build upon the strong relationships with our friends and partners here in the Western Pacific,” said Capt. David A. Bretz, commander, DESRON 31. “The U.S. has maintained a persistent naval presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific region for more than 70 years, and we are looking forward to continuing that great tradition.”
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy, constantly coordinating with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the Pacific theater of operations.