USS Rushmore (LSD 47) file photo. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Amanda R. Gray)

PACIFIC OCEAN - Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), with embarked U.S. Coast Guard maritime law enforcement personnel, departed American Samoa after a scheduled two-day port visit, Sept. 5.

Under the operational control of U.S. 3rd Fleet, Rushmore and embarked U.S. Coast Guard District 14 maritime law enforcement personnel departed San Diego Aug. 14 for a deployment supporting the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI).

OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program aimed to diminish transnational illegal activity on the high seas in the Pacific Island Nations of Oceania’s exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and enhance regional security and inoperability with partner nations.

"The Rushmore crew is excited and proud to be here," Cmdr. Rob Tryon, Rushmore's executive officer said during the visit. "We look forward to continuing to build our relationships with our partners in the South Pacific and assist them in enhancing maritime security throughout the area."

Ship visits like these provide tremendous opportunities for the United States and Pacific Island Nations to strengthen theater security cooperation and help to ensure a safer and more successful future for the region.

The port call reinforced the U.S. Navy's commitment to theater security cooperation and freedom of navigation operations within the Asia-Indo-Pacific region. During the visit Rushmore Sailors had the opportunity to tour the island of American Samoa and enjoy the different activities and culture the island had to offer.

“I’m really happy to have the opportunity to visit home,” said Quartermaster 1st Class Tapu Tagaloa, a Sailor from American Samoa. “I’ve been able to visit twice before this, but I’m happy for my shipmates to experience my home as well.”

Rushmore is homeported in San Diego and is part of the U.S. Naval Surface Forces and U.S. 3rd Fleet. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. Third Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the Pacific theater of operations.