SPEECH | March 13, 2018

Vice Adm. Sawyer's remarks during the 75th anniversary commemoration of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.


Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet

Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer

Remarks during the 75th anniversary commemoration of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

 

Lord Mayor, Consul General Fowler, Admiral Mead, distinguished guests, it’s an honor to stand here in Brisbane -- the birthplace of U.S. Seventh Fleet -- 75 years ago.

 

At that time, our Naval forces were the fighting forces in the Pacific. Our fleet, rebuilding from Pearl Harbor, learning in the unforgiving crucible of war and facing a formidable foe, found a home amongst our allies in Brisbane. Under the supreme leadership of General MacArthur, admirals Carpenter and then Kinkaid turned Seventh Fleet into a powerful fighting force, one that helped turn the tide of war toward peace. 

 

We will always be grateful to this city, and to all Brisbanites, for sheltering our navy’s revival, at a time when we were at our most vulnerable.

 

Seventh Fleet has fought in nearly every conflict in this region and beyond since then,

from Cold War hot spots to our nation’s immediate response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 to regional natural disasters. Seventh Fleet was there. For all of that time, we have worked alongside allies, partners and friends to provide security at sea. Our shared commitment to providing security has enabled stability, and this stability has promoted the rising tide of prosperity that continues to sweep the Indo-Pacific. 

 

That commitment endures today in the face of rising, unpredictable challenges, posed by revisionist powers and other persistent threats.  But security does not happen by itself.

 

It must be provided by likeminded nation and by the constant presence of their navies at sea 

 

We will continue to do this based on shared values and principles that transcend episodic differences, and support the rules-based order.  These same principles have paved the way toward reconciliation and peace many times. 75 years ago no one envisioned that generations of Seventh Fleet Sailors would live in Yokosuka, Japan, or sail with Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force, yet now we do. And 40 years ago, few would’ve predicted a US aircraft carrier strike group visiting Vietnam. Yet I stood with many Vietnamese sons and daughters just last week, as we sang our national anthems aboard USS Carl Vinson.

 

Today, I’m here with you. I’m here with the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Commander, Admiral Jonathan Mead as a reflection of the longstanding bond between our navies. A bond that predates the conflict that brought Seventh Fleet into being 75 years ago, and one that will continue to guide us in the future.

 

Let me reassure you, no one should doubt Seventh Fleet’s readiness today. No one should doubt our obligations to defend our allies..., 

No one should doubt our resolve to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.

 

Thank you, and may God bless our nations, our navies and our people.  

 

Happy Birthday, Seventh Fleet.