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News | Nov. 18, 2021

USS Sioux City Celebrates Statia Day, Saluting American History

By U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet

Sailors aboard the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11) conducted a ceremonial 21-gun salute in celebration of Statia Day, off the coast of Sint Eustatius, Nov. 16.

In coordination with the government of Statia, Sioux City, while sailing two miles off the coast of Sint Eustatius paid tribute to the island with a seven-person rifle team, who fired the gun salute. 

Meanwhile, back on the island, the citizens of Statia held a ceremony and returned the salute from shore. Their program included dancers, various skits and speeches to commemorate the event.

Statia Day is a national holiday celebrated in Sint Eustatius, which is known locally as Statia. The island is a special municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Statia Day celebrates the “first salute,” when on Nov. 16, 1776, the Continental Navy ship Andrew Doria fired a salute upon entering the harbor in Statia, customary for ships entering a foreign port. A few minutes later, by order of the Dutch governor, guns from the island’s Fort Oranje returned the salute.

This act of recognition acknowledged that the vessel and its flag represented a legitimate nation. It was the first official salute to the United States of America, which had declared its independence a few months earlier, on July 4, 1776.

Cmdr. Brad Tonder, commanding officer of Sioux City, provided brief remarks to the crew to explain the historical significance and importance of honoring the holiday.

“We saw maritime history come alive as we conducted our gun salute,” said Tonder. “We are honored and privileged to properly acknowledge Statia’s role in our nation’s history, as we commemorate and celebrate that first salute 245 years ago.”

Statia Day became an official holiday on the island in the 1960s.

The U.S. and Dutch have enjoyed a long-standing relationship as allies for many years. Most recently, both nations assisted in the humanitarian assistance disaster relief efforts when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti in August 2021.

Sioux City is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.

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