EBEYE, Republic of the Marshall Islands - USS Reuben James (FFG 57) Sailors took part in a parade commemorating Kwajalein Liberation Day after the guided-missile frigate arrived here for a port visit Feb. 9.

In 1944, American troops swept through Kwajalein Atoll, liberating the Marshallese from the Japanese during World War II.

“It was fortuitous that our brief stop allowed Reuben James to take part in commemorating the rich history and partnership the U.S. military has enjoyed over the past 67 years,” said Cmdr. David E. Miller, Reuben James’ commanding officer.

The U.S. Chargd’Affairs to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Mr. Eric Watnik attended the event too, marking the first time that U.S. Navy personnel attended the Kwajalein Liberation Day celebration.

Dignitaries from across the island nation, which included the Honorary Jureland Zedkaia, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Taiwanese Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Chen Lien-Gene and several senators from the other atolls [islands] in the Republic of the Marshall Islands witnessed and took part in the festivities too.

Approximately 13,000 residents of Ebeye lined the streets for the parade and in the town square to hear a speech from President Zedkaia, Watnik, and several others.

Watnik spoke about the ongoing partnership between the United States and the Marshall Islands, highlighting the 72 million dollars spent on infrastructure improvements, new classrooms and modern medical facilities.

Reuben James departed Hawaii Feb. 1 for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific.