Berthed at the wharf in Suva is a vessel that for many Fijians may look like it is part of a movie set. But it is in fact the United States Navy’s Independence-class littoral combat ship USS JACKSON which arrived in port on September 12.
This is part of an increased presence of US naval and coast guard vessels in the Pacific.
Other vessels including the hospital ship USNS Mercy are currently in the region, and there is no doubt that America is taking the challenges presented by recent Chinese actions seriously.
The USS JACKSON is operating in the Oceania region in support of the Oceania Maritime Support Initiative to enforce Pacific Island nations’ fishery laws through maritime law operations with the US Coast Guard’s embarked Tactical Law Enforcement detachment.
“JACKSON is excited to be in Fiji to build partnerships and engage with the local community,” said Commander Michael Winslow, JACKSON Gold Crew Commanding Officer.
“On behalf of the entire crew, thank you for the warm welcome.”
While in Fiji, JACKSON crew will participate in community relations activities and sporting events, as well as hosting several regional personnel aboard the ship.
JACKSON is on a rotational deployment to the US 7th Fleet area of operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions.
The ship is visiting Fiji during its OMSI mission to work alongside regional allied and partner navies to enhance interoperability, serve as a ready-response force, and provide maritime security and stability across the Indo-Pacific.
The Oceania Maritime Support Initiative (OMSI) is a Secretary of Defense program that leverages Department of Defense assets transiting the region to improve maritime security and maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting regional stability and partnerships in Oceania.
An integral part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, US 3rd Fleet operates naval forces in the Indo-Pacific in addition to providing realistic and relevant training across the full spectrum of military operations – from combat operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
US 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with numbered Fleets to provide commanders with capable, ready forces to deploy forward and win in day-to-day competition, in crisis, and in conflict.