By Leland Kim
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE (KHNL) -- A high-ranking military officer just returned to Hawaii from a trip around the world. Admiral Timothy Keating was visiting our men and women in uniform.
It was a whirlwind trip for Adm. Keating: Singapore, the Maldives, Iraq, Bangladesh and back home to Hawaii in just five days. He said it highlights peacekeeping as well as humanitarian aid efforts performed by U.S. service members.
Adm. Keating marches back home to Hawaii this Thanksgiving week, after thanking troops stationed all over the world. He made a stop in Iraq, where the U.S. military reports fewer attacks in recent months.
"They know there is improved sense of security and well-being on the part of the Iraqi people," said Adm. Keating, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. "So, those aren't my words. those are the words of the young men and women doing the job, and they would close by saying, let us finish our job."
Besides peacekeeping missions, Adm. Keating said U.S. troops focus on humanitarian efforts, like the one in Bangladesh.
"We want to come in quietly, do our work and get out," he said. "All the while -- and this is a very important foundation -- we retain our combat readiness, because that, after all, is our fundamental mission is to defend the United States."
He added, that mission becomes even more worthwhile because of the aloha shown by the people of Hawaii.
"And as a senior military officer on the island," said Adm. Keating, "I want to thank everybody in Hawaii for allowing us the privilege of living in this state, for the support that you provide, and for that sense of optimism you give our kids, so when they come home, there's a good quality of life here in Hawaii."
Adm. Keating also addressed China's last minute move on Wednesday to bar U.S. Navy ship The USS Kitty Hawk from visiting Hong Kong on Thanksgiving Day.
China later changed its mind again, but by that time it was too late. The vessel was already heading back to its home port in Japan.