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During the tour, Harris engaged with Tulsa’s crew on their skillsets and the ship’s missions. Officers and Sailors discussed U.S. naval integration, surface warfare, mine countermeasures, flight operations, and underway replenishment.
After touring the ship, Harris conducted an all-hands call with Tulsa’s crew, who recently concluded participation in the 20th iteration of Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT). She emphasized the importance of strong multilateral relationships in Southeast Asia with joint efforts to promote a rules-based international order, and expressed support for the service members currently deployed to the Indo-Pacific region to keep the nation secure.
“The reason we are here is important: the Indo-Pacific is critical to the security and the prosperity of the United States,” said Harris. “Our presence in the Indo-Pacific has a long, long history, including now, of helping to guarantee peace and security, freedom of trade and commerce, freedom of navigation…and open waterways, and the rules-based international order that has brought so much safety and prosperity to so many.”
Tulsa’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Brandon Cornes, said it was an honor and privilege to host the Vice President. He expressed appreciation for her comments noting the partnership between U.S. forces and their Southeast Asian counterparts is vital to keeping peace in the region.
“Vice President Harris reaffirmed the strategic significance of our military presence to the region during this deployment,” said Cornes. “Tulsa’s sustained presence at sea and continued engagements with partners, as just completed during SEACAT, underscore our commitment to an operational presence for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
With 21 Indo-Pacific partner nations, SEACAT is a multilateral exercise designed to enhance cooperation among regional countries and provide mutual support and a common goal to address crises, contingencies, and illegal activities in the maritime domain using standardized tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Named to honor Oklahoma’s second largest city, Tulsa is rotationally deployed from San Diego to U.S. 7th Fleet with Destroyer Squadron 7, supporting Commander, Task Force 76/Expeditionary Strike Group 7. Under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.