U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) completed a port call in Suva, Fiji, February 14, and thereby became the first U.S. Navy ship to visit Fiji in 10 years.
While in port Suva, the crew of more than 300 sailors actively integrated with the local community. Sailors visited Samabula Senior Citizens Home, painted one of the wards in Colonial War Memorial hospital and met with students from Veiuto Primary School and Cathedral High School.
Following the visit in Suva, Lawrence will commence maritime law enforcement operations in support of the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI). OMSI is a secretary of defense program which leverages Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness.
A law enforcement detachment from U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team South based out of Miami will work with Lawrence to conduct maritime law enforcement operations in support of U.S. and Pacific Island Nations fisheries laws and to suppress illicit activities. Upon completion of OMSI, the ship will continue operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Commissioned June 4, 2011, Lawrence is named after Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, a naval aviator, former Vietnam prisoner of war and former commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet. Lawrence is a recipient of the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation’s third highest military award, for his inspirational leadership while in captivity.
Commanded by Cmdr. Walter C. Mainor, the ship is assigned to the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group and is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific Deployment.