YOKOSUKA, Japan – Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) while moored at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Sept. 28.
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 has been doing since becoming part of the forward-deployed naval forces of Japan last year,” said Cmdr. Travis Montplaisir, commanding officer of Higgins. “It is always a pleasure to show off the ship and the crew, discuss the Howard’s capabilities and honor our ship’s namesake 1st Sgt. Jimmie Howard.”
Prior to addressing the crew and guests Vice President’s Harris met with Sailors and toured the ship.
“I felt very honored and excited to meet the vice president,” said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Cora Rago Bracali-Gambino, from Sacramento, California. “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.”
Vice President Harris addressed the Howard’s crew on the ship’s flight deck, highlighting the administration’s continued commitment to its alliances and interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The United States is a proud Pacific power,” said Harris. “The American people have found stake in the future of this region and we will continue to promote an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, connected, secure and resilient. Your presence here, the presence of the United States in the Indo-Pacific is in pursuit of peace and stability, and to support our allies and partners. In that mission, each and every one of you plays an essential role, so again I thank you for looking out for our neighbors and friends, for pursuing the common good and for always standing up for freedom.”
Since homeport shifting from Naval Base San Diego last year, the Howard has operated throughout the Indo-Pacific with both the Carl Vinson and Ronald Reagan Strike Groups, conducting various integrated fires exercises such as Noble Jaguar and Katana Strike, and sailed to Wellington, New Zealand, being the first U.S. Navy destroyer to visit that country in five years.
Howard is assigned to Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th fleet’s principal surface force.
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 more than 70 years, providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.