Cmdr. Andy Strickland, commanding officer of USS Shoup (DDG 86); Ambassador Yogesh Karan; Osea Naitura Cawaru, Minister of Defense, National Security and Immigration; and Charge d' Affaires Michael Goldman cut a cake commemorating American-Fiji relations. (U.S. Navy/MC2 William Collins III)

SUVA, Fiji - The guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) hosted more than 150 military and civilian dignitaries from the United States, Fiji, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand and Japan during a reception on the flight deck, Oct. 15.

The ship arrived in Suva, Oct. 14, to celebrate decades of the Fijian-American naval partnership.

"We're honored to partner with the Fijian Navy in our Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) deployment," Shoup commanding cfficer Cmdr. Andy Strickland announced, commencing the celebration. "The partnership we've built between our navies is a foundation to ensuring maritime security and stability within the region; what we do here sets the standard for advancing maritime security globally."

The OMSI program is a Secretary of Defense program leveraging Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

Michael Goldman, Charge d' Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, followed Strickland with remarks about the importance of Fiji and American relations. "We're a Pacific nation; we've always been in the Pacific; we're always going to be in the Pacific. We share a commitment, as a Pacific nation, to the peace and security of the Indo-Pacific region."

"We fought alongside our Pacific partners honorably and bravely. We share values in democracy, bonds in history and faith," added Goldman. "We are your brothers and your sisters. We share a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

The evening peaked with a cake-cutting ceremony. Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister, Yogesh Karan and Osea Naitura Cawaru, Minister of Defense, National Security and Immigration held a cutlass with Strickland and Goldman reiterating the relations between America and Fiji.

Shoup is operating throughout the Indo-Pacific to support regional security and stability. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy and constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions that promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the Pacific theater of operations.