VICE Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet; Commander, Striking and Support Forces NATO; Joint Force Maritime Component Commander, Europe; Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe; Deputy Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa made a flying visit to Palma from his base in Naples to shore up the important relationship between the United States and Spain yesterday.
After a meeting with the Central Government Delegate to the Balearics, Ramon Socias, the Vice Admiral stressed the need for the allies to be prepared to defend the way of life of the American, Spanish and European people against international terrorism, in particular Al Qaeda and underlined the important role the Spanish navy plays in the fight against global terrorism.
THREAT TO US ALL Al Qaeda represents a threat to us all, the Vice Admiral said and stressed the need for all those involved in the fight against Al Qaeda to be constantly on their guard.
The primary objectives of the Sixth Fleet, whose main area of operations is the Mediterranean, is counter terrorism and piracy which also includes the illegal trafficking of weapons, drugs and people.
The Vice Admiral, who is a former marine and pilot who has logged 4'400 flight hours, including over 400 combat hours, in U.S. and foreign maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, took over command of U.S. 6th Fleet and Striking and Support Forces NATO in Naples in November last year so, yesterday was his first official visit to the Balearics which he said is of strategic importance to the Sixth Fleet and probably the most popular place for the crews on rest and recuperation leave.
Harris highlighted the very important working relationship between the US and Spanish armed forces at all level.
Spain is a key ally and shares the same vision as the United States that we need to maintain stability, peace and security, he said.
He also paid tribute to the members of the Palma 47 Infantry Regiment which was recently deployed to Afghanistan on a training missions.
The Vice Admiral also praised Spain for the great efforts the navy is making off the East coast of Africa to combat piracy.
The Vice Admiral's CV makes impressive reading.
Born in Yokosuka, Japan, he first visited Palma in 1986 as a Tactical Action Officer onboard the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier.
Harris went on to become responsible for the planning and execution of the Naval component's portion of Operation Iraqi Freedom and in August 2004, in his first Flag assignment, he reported to the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as Director, Information, Plans and Security Division, responsible for Navy current operations and anti-terrorism/force protection policy.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL
In March 2006, he assumed command of Joint Task Force Guantanamo in Cuba.
His personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (3 awards), Legion of Merit (3 awards), Bronze Star (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (4 awards), Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (5 awards), Navy Achievement Medal, and various campaign and unit decorations.
He is also recipient of the Navy League's Stephen Decatur Award for Operational Competence.