CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore -- Sailors from U.S. 7th Fleet departed Changi Naval Base, Singapore May 19, aboard USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) for a theater security cooperation (TSC) patrol in Southeast Asia.
Following flag-level staff talks between U.S. and Republic of Singapore navies, the TSC patrol gets underway with 40 embarked staff members in a goodwill mission consisting of port calls and bilateral events in several Southeast Asian countries.
"We have been a constant presence in the region for the last 75 years, and welcome this opportunity to work with our allies and partners in the region," said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.
7th Fleet staff will also host receptions in several foreign ports to demonstrate their commitment to strengthening and fostering relationships in the region.
"We are excited to make the most of these port visits, and the entire TSC mission, to be U.S. Navy ambassadors and to reinforce the message that we will be here to help our partners and allies maintain peace and security in the region," said Capt. Bernie Wang, the 7th Fleet theater security cooperation director and senior officer on the patrol.
Millinocket is one of three expeditionary fast transport ships in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, designed for the fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. She was chosen for this unique mission due to her mobility, flexibility, and ability to pull into ports not usually accessible to a ship of her size. Currently manned by more than 22 civil service mariners, she will also host U.S. 7th Fleet Band members and Marines from Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC).
FASTPAC Marines plan on participating in many joint exercises with foreign militaries while Millinocket visits foreign ports providing training in hand-to-hand combat and visit, board, search and seizure demonstrations. The embarked 7th Fleet staff and band will participate in several engagements designed to solidify regional relationships, including subject matter exchanges, concerts, and community service events.
7th Fleet, which celebrates its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. 7th Fleet's area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world's population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the 7th Fleet.