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READOUT: Pacific Fleet commander’s travel to Tonga, September 15-16

19 September 2022

From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander U.S. Pacific Fleet, traveled to Nuku’alofa, Tonga, September 15-16, 2022 to affirm the longstanding partnership and bilateral relationship between the Kingdom of Tonga and the United States. Paparo met with senior Tongan officials including: Honorable Samiu Vaipulu, Acting Prime
Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, meets with Deputy Chief of Defence and His Majesty's Armed Forces Commander Capt. Sione Ulakai during a visit to Nuku'alofa, Tonga.
NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (Sept. 16, 2022) Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, meets with Deputy Chief of Defence and His Majesty's Armed Forces Commander Capt. Sione Ulakai during a visit to Nuku'alofa, Tonga. The visit to Tonga emphasized the U.S. commitment to strengthening partnerships for an enduring free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Bauer)
Adm. Samuel Paparo poses for a photo with Tongan Maritime Force sailors.
NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Sept. 16, 2022) Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, poses for a photo with Tongan Maritime Force sailors during a visit to Masefield Navy Base, Tonga. The visit to Tonga emphasized the U.S. commitment to strengthening partnerships for an enduring free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Bauer)
Adm. Samuel Paparo meets with Tonga Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Kuita Vaipulu.
NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Sept. 16, 2022) Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, meets with Tonga Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Kuita Vaipulu during a visit to Nuku’alofa, Tonga. The visit to Tonga emphasized the U.S. commitment to strengthening partnerships for an enduring free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Bauer)
Adm. Samuel Paparo meets with Deputy Chief of Defence and His Majesty’s Armed Forces Commander Capt. Sione Ulakai.
NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Sept. 16, 2022) Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, meets with Deputy Chief of Defence and His Majesty’s Armed Forces Commander Capt. Sione Ulakai during a visit to Nuku’alofa, Tonga. The visit to Tonga emphasized the U.S. commitment to strengthening partnerships for an enduring free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Bauer)

Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander U.S. Pacific Fleet, traveled to Nuku’alofa, Tonga, September 15-16, 2022 to affirm the longstanding partnership and bilateral relationship between the Kingdom of Tonga and the United States.

Paparo met with senior Tongan officials including:

  • Honorable Samiu Vaipulu, Acting Prime Minister, Minister for Justice and Prisons
  • Capt. Sione Ulakai, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) Tonga
  • LCdr. Siua Ika, Acting Maritime Component Commander Navy, HMAF
  • Col. Tevita Siu Fifita, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff for Operation, HMAF
  • Cmdr. Sione Lino, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff for Support, HMAF
  • Lt. Col. Okusitino Sakalia, Director of Policy, HMAF
  • Lt. Col. Toma’akino Tuitavuki, Commander, His Majesty’s Royal Guard, HMAF
  • Senior Force Sergeant Major Samiuela Momo Lolomana’ia, HMAF

The leaders discussed enhancing and strengthening the partnership to ensure regional maritime security, especially in areas of transnational crime, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and response to natural disasters caused by climate change.

During the visit, Paparo received a brief on naval capabilities and interoperability at Masefield Navy Base and toured the Guardian-class patrol vessel VOEA Ngahau Siliva (P302).

Paparo expressed appreciation to his Tongan counterparts for our shared history and sacrifice, and the continued partnership between our militaries, including Rim of the Pacific 2022 exercise where a platoon of Tongan Marines operated in CTF 176 Landing Force Component.

The visit to Tonga underscored the United States’ commitment to strengthening partnerships for an enduring free and open Indo-Pacific.

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