WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) arrived in Wellington, Nov. 26, for a routine port visit.
This port visit is an indication of the depth of the relationship between New Zealand and the U.S. The U.S. Navy along with its network of alliances and partners plays a key role in the security of global trade routes and freedom of navigation, and maintaining global access for our Navy is central to that role.
USS Howard is in New Zealand for a standard port visit and to consult on cooperative exercises. Professional engagement with friends, partners, and allies in the region allows the opportunity to build upon the existing, strong relationships and continue our shared learning.
"My crew is extremely excited to visit New Zealand and proud to be called upon to represent the U.S. Navy as we build our relationship and deepen the friendship with the people and leaders here," said Cmdr. Travis Montplaisir, Howard's commanding officer. "As the Royal New Zealand Navy celebrates their 80th anniversary this year, we're pleased to help them mark the occasion and look forward to a successful visit that ensures continued opportunities for cooperation."
USS Howard will take part in a range of activities with the New Zealand Defence force, including training and interoperability exercises and official engagements.
Having taken measures to mitigate and operate in a COVID-19 environment, Sailors will be granted liberty in Wellington.
The U.S. Navy is dedicated to the health of its force and families. Mitigation for the continuing COVID-19 pandemic in partner nations has been a key component of port visit planning. The U.S. Navy continues to take appropriate force health protection measures, helping to mitigate the spread of COVID while maintaining the commitment and capability to train and operate in the COVID environment.
This marks the first visit of a U.S. warship to the country since USS Sampson (DDG 102) visited in 2016 following the Kaikoura earthquake.
The port visit allows for leadership from USS Howard and New Zealand forces to meet and discuss the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific that drives global economic development, and continues our shared interest to preserve rules-based international order. This cooperation allows the U.S. Navy and New Zealand to continue its commitment to their relationship and peace, security and stability across the Indo-Pacific region.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.