The visit to Howard was part of Vice President Harris’ trip to Japan to attend the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which included a stop in Yokosuka to interact with sailors and families.
“The USS Howard was honored to host the Vice President today to discuss all the hard work the crew have done since becoming part of the forward deployed Naval Forces of Japan the last year,” said Cmdr. Travis Montplaisir, commander of Higgins. “It’s always a pleasure to show off the ship and her crew, discuss Howard’s capabilities, and honor our ship’s namesake, 1st Sgt. Jimmy Howard.
Before addressing the crew and guests, Vice President Harris met with sailors and toured the ship.
“I felt very honored and excited to meet the Vice President,” said Cora Rago Bracali-Gambino, Gunner’s Mate 1st Class, from Sacramento, Calif. “As the first female Vice President, I look up to her and the example she has set. Seeing what she has been able to accomplish inspires me to do greater things and gives me something to look forward to in the future. ‘coming.
Vice President Harris addressed the crew of the Howard on the ship’s flight deck, stressing the administration’s continued commitment to its alliances and interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The United States is a proud Pacific power,” Harris said. “The American people have a stake in the future of this region, and we will continue to promote a free and open, connected, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific. Your presence here, the United States’ presence in the Indo-Pacific is in the pursuit of peace and stability, and to support our allies and partners. In this mission, each of you plays an essential role, so once again, thank you for watching over our neighbors and friends, to pursue the common good and to always defend freedom.
Since transferring homeport from Naval Base San Diego last year, Howard has operated throughout the Indo-Pacific with Strike Groups Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan, conducting various integrated fire drills such as Noble Jaguar and Katana Strike, and sailed to Wellington, New Zealand, being the first United States Navy destroyer to visit that country in five years.
Howard is assigned to Commander Task Force 71 / Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the largest forward deployed DESRON in the Navy and the principal surface force of the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest forward deployed fleet in the world, and with the help of a network of alliances and partners from 35 other maritime nations, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for over 70 years, providing credible and ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.