Indian-American woman captains US warship to India

Indian-American woman captains US warship to India

USS Decatur will dock at the Chennai port for four days, an American embassy statement said Wednesday.

“The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is led by Commander Shanti Sethi, an American of Indian descent. Commander Sethi is also the first female commanding officer of a US navy ship to visit Chennai,” it said.

US ambassador Timothy J. Roemer said: “A strong defence relationship is essential to the US-India strategic partnership. Ship visits strengthen our already strong bilateral military relationship and augment the extensive maritime security efforts between our two democracies.”

He said the visits enhanced people-to-people ties that were the bedrock of US-India partnership.

“That the USS Decatur is led by Commander Shanti Sethi, an Indian-American woman, is
yet another example of the close bond between the American and Indian people. Our people-to-people ties continue to grow and expand in education, business, the arts, intelligence, and in defence,” Roemer said.

The primary mission of Decatur is to operate with Expeditionary Strike Groups and Carrier Strike Groups in high-threat environments. The ship can also provide essential escort capabilities to navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships, and convoys.

In Chennai, Decatur crew members will take part in various community service events. Commander Sethi will meet local girl students.

The port call of USS Decatur comes close on the heels of the USNS Safeguard, a salvage class vessel, which visited Port Blair Jan 4-11.

“US navy port visits promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and demonstrate US commitment to regional partners while fostering growing defence relationships,” the release added.

In July 2007, one of America's largest warship, aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, called on the Chennai port. The skipper of the vessel was Captain Micheal C. Manazir, a naval pilot who answered to the call sign Nasty.