Coast Guard Commandant meets with U.S. Embassy and Dominican Republic officials in Santo Domingo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Thad W. Allen, completed a two-day visit Monday with U.S. Embassy and Dominican Armed Forces senior military officials in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Adm. Allen met with U.S. Embassy Country Team officials Sunday upon his arrival to Santo Domingo to discuss counterdrug initiatives in the Dominican Republic.

The Commandant then departed to the Dominican Republic Naval Base “27 de Febrero,” where he met with the Chief of the Dominican Republic Navy, Vice Adm. Homero Luis Lajara Solá, to discuss Coast Guard and Dominican Republic progress in ongoing and new interoperability initiatives to combat drug trafficking and human smuggling.

The Commandant commended the Dominican Republic Navy’s operational success while conducting law enforcement and Search and Rescue operations with the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as Midshipmen cruises and training exchanges.

“The Dominican Navy has been very successful in stopping illegal voyages before they even depart,” said Allen. “Their patrol boats are readily available to respond to Search and Rescue and counterdrug operations, and their eagerness to conduct joint shiprider operations and training exchanges with the U.S. Coast Guard has rekindled a shared tradition from past eras between our services.”

Following the meeting, Adm. Allen toured the Dominican Navy Flagship Almirante Didiez Burgos (PA-301), and later attended a dinner in his honor hosted by Dominican Republic Navy officials.

The Commandant conducted office calls Monday morning with the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires, Christopher Lambert, and with the Minister of the Dominican Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Pedro Rafael Peña Antonio, before concluding his visit.

“The long-standing cooperation between the U.S. Coast Guard and Dominican authorities, particularly the Dominican Republic Navy, has greatly benefited the people of the Dominican Republic and the United States,” said Allen.  “We look forward to expanding our mutual cooperation and interoperability as together we continue to save lives and defend our borders against all hazards – all threats.”

Adm. Thad W. Allen became the 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard in May 25, 2006.  As such, he leads the largest component of the Department of Homeland Security, comprised of about 42,000 men and women on Active Duty, 7,000 civilians, 8,000 Reservists and 34,000 volunteer Auxiliarists.