U.S. 7TH FLEET COMMANDER METZGER PAYS VISIT TO GUAM

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By Theresa Merto Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (June 12, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---The commander of the Navy's Pacific fleet toured Guam's military facilities and met with government officials yesterday.

Vice Admiral James Metzger, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, arrived Saturday night and met with the governor, speaker of the Legislature, members of the Guam Chamber of Commerce and military personnel.

"Every time I get the opportunity to try to stop in here, because ... we have a lot of 7th Fleet folks that are here in Guam and it is always of interest for me to stop by and see them," Metzger said.

Metzger was scheduled to leave the island yesterday afternoon for Japan to speak at a change of command ceremony there. He last visited Guam in September, but meetings were canceled because of Tropical Storm Saomai.

Metzger said yesterday that the Navy will continue to train here.

"Guam ... provides to us all the training types of facilities that we need for operations in the Western Pacific," Metzger said.

"We bring our carrier air crews ... and carrier here just to do training. I think we are going to continue to see a use of the training facilities here to great advantage. I think you'll probably see just the kind of ... robust activity that you have seen in the last year continue in Guam."

Metzger said that he has heard positive responses about Guam from military personnel who are home ported here or who have visited the island.

"I saw the USS Kitty Hawk sailors in Tandem Thrust after they had their eight-day visit here to beautiful Guam, and frankly, they had big smiles on their faces," Metzger said. "They were able to shop in American stores and do all those things that sailors like to do."

The USS Kitty Hawk, the Navy's oldest active ship, arrived on island April 20 for a port visit, which included flight training exercises and rest and relaxation for more than 5,000 crew members.

"I think our presence is a stabilizing element for this area of the world, and it is one that we will continue to support," Metzger said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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