COMALAPA, El Salvador (NNS) -- The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, visited Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa, El Salvador on Feb. 23 as part of a brief country tour.
U.S. Senator Thomas "Tom" Carper was received by, Cmdr. Odin Klug CSL's commanding officer, and Lt. Cmdr. Jared Tharp, VP-8 officer-in-charge, and provided a tour of the P-3C Orion aircraft and CSL installation.
Stepping aboard the P-3C Orion, VP-8's Lt. James "Tilly" Tilden and LTJG Patrick Frailey guided the Senator through the aircraft's mission, capabilities, and multiple crew station responsibilities.
"During my 16 years in Naval Aviation and seven deployments, I have had the privilege of showing many distinguished visitors the aircraft I fly and introduce them to the men and women that provide the very backbone of making it all possible," said Lt. Tilden. "Having Senator Carper as a guest of VP-8 was truly a highlight and assuring him that VP-8 is at the tip of the spear in the war against narco-terrorism."
After a brief stop in the paraloft to show the advances in aircrew survival equipment, Carper took a few moments to pause and chat with the VP-8 Fighting Tigers.
"Having a member of our elected leadership take the time to swap stories and interact with the Sailors was a phenomenal experience," said Lt. j.g. Frailey. "We take pride in showing how VP-8 leads the way in the struggle against transnational crime and narco-terrorism in the 4th Fleet [area of responsibility (AOR)]."
Klug and Carper walked around the installation, stopping briefly to note aspects of the operations, logistics, and infrastructure that support the success of the deployed warfighters operating from this forward duty station.
"Having Senator Carper aboard was a wonderful opportunity both for our young men and women to showcase their pride and professionalism, and to communicate the vitally important efforts that CSL Comalapa and the aviation assets that deploy to the U.S. Southern Command AOR perform to support U.S. national security objectives while keeping synchronized with the needs and aims of our host nation partners," said Klug.
Senator Carper attended Ohio State University on a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship and subsequently served as an active duty and reserve P-3C naval flight officer and mission commander, retiring after 23 years of service at the rank of captain in 1991.
The purpose of the Senator's visit was to examine the border security implications of the recent surge in undocumented immigration from El Salvador and gain a better understanding of the factors that are contributing to this surge, as well as the U.S. government's efforts to address these root causes and expedite prompt repatriation of undocumented immigrants.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.