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SECNAV Visits Marines in New Caledonia

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS141027-05
Release Date: 10/27/2014 1:02:00 PM

By Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus met with Marines from 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines in New Caledonia October 24 as they completed Exercise AMERICAL II.

The three-week exercise, hosted by the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC), focused on light-infantry and basic commando skills.

After viewing portions of the exercise's final event, conducted at the island's Aquatic Command Training Center, Mabus thanked the Marines for what they do for their country.

'What you give the country is presence,' he said. 'You are where you need to be when you need to be there and you're able to do anything. What you do cannot be duplicated and that is why the Navy and Marine Corps team is the greatest expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known.'

This presence, he explained, is particularly important in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

'If you want an example of the rebalance, if you want an example of our commitment to the Pacific, if you want an example of what our Marines can do, you have to look no further than those of you here today,' said Mabus.

The Pacific presence embodied by the Marines training in New Caledonia has been a trademark of the Navy and Marine Corps throughout American history, as has been the ability of Sailors and Marines to develop and strengthen international partnerships.

'France has been a partner of America since our very founding and New Caledonia and America have had very strong ties since March of 1942,' said Mabus during the AMERICAL II closing ceremony. 'We have worked together and we have fought together for decades. That cooperation, that partnership, that friendship, continues to this day.'

Mabus reminded those in attendance that strong partnerships and a consistent presence would remain important well into the future.

'The United States Marines here today just completed training in New Caledonia with troops from other countries,' he said. 'We train together, we work together, so that if the need arises we can be ready for any eventuality.'

Mabus' stop in New Caledonia is part of a multi-nation visit to the U.S. Pacific and Africa Command areas of responsibility focused on reinforcing existing partnerships and visiting Sailors and Marines providing forward presence.

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