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In April, I laid a wreath at the Manila American Cemetery, in the Philippines, where some 17,000 Americans are buried. Looking up at the mosaic maps of battles whose names still echo throughout the U.S. Department of Defense—Guadalcanal, Midway, Leyte Gulf, and more—it is hard not to appreciate the essential role that the U.S. military has long played in the Asia-Pacific. Many of the individuals buried in the cemetery helped win World War II. For the people and nations of the region, they also won the opportunity to realize a brighter future.
Since World War II, America’s men and women in uniform have worked day in and day out to help ensure the security of the Asia-Pacific. Forward-deployed U.S. personnel in the region—serving at Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base in South Korea, at the Yokosuka naval base and Yokota Air Base in Japan,