USS BOXER, At sea (NNS) -- Guam Lt. Gov. Michael W. Cruz, along with several territory officials, were welcomed aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) Feb. 4 to meet with senior leadership and deckplate Sailors.
Cruz and Maj. Gen. Donald Goldhorn, adjutant general of the Guam National Guard toured the amphibious assault ship and met with Sailors from Guam who are currently stationed aboard Boxer. Cruz, who is also a medical doctor, received an extensive tour and briefing of Boxer's robust medical facilities.
Discussing the recent re-emergence of Guam as a major focus of U.S. maritime strategy in the Western Pacific, Cruz said Guam was proud to be the tip of the spear.
"We have a long relationship with the United States dating back to 1898 with the Marines and our liberation in World War II. We recognize our strategic importance because of our position in the Pacific," said Cruz.
"We are honored to have hosted such great guests and we look forward to taking part in Guam's legendary hospitality," said Capt. Pete Brennan, Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) commander and commodore of Amphibious Squadron 5.
Cruz said Guam is anticipating a 25 percent increase in population in the next few years as they continue to strengthen their relationship with the United States.
"Even before the downturn in the national economy, one of our main concerns has been economic issues," said Cruz.
As part of a realignment of forces from the Japanese island of Okinawa, the U.S. plans to station more than 8,000 military personnel and their family members on Guam in the next few years.
"We welcome the Navy and Marine Corps and view the current $15 billion investment as an economic opportunity," said Cruz.
Boxer is currently in-port Guam. While in Guam, Sailors and Marines are volunteering their time for several scheduled community relation events to lend a hand to those in need. Personnel will participate in the Habitat for Humanity building project among others. Personnel will also have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and unique cultural aspects of Guam.
Boxer and Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group/13TH Marine Expeditionary Unit are currently on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of global maritime security.
BOXESG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USCGC Boutwell (WHEC 719), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, Naval Beach Group 1, Assault Craft Unit 5, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1 and Fleet Surgical Team 5.
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is comprised of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 (Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1.
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf76/.