HONOLULU, June 8, 2011 -- Secretary of the U.S. Army John McHugh thinks the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility, the fifth largest area of the world, is important to the U.S. Army, despite the fact that much of it is ocean.

“Look at all the water throughout the Pacific and you tend to think Navy,” said McHugh. “The fact of the matter is, not all of the nations with which we engage or wish to engage have Navies, but they all have Armies.”

McHugh engaged with military leaders and Soldiers throughout Hawaii during the initial leg of his tour through the Pacific Command June 2-4, 2011.

“Seven of the ten largest Armies of the world are located in this area of responsibility,” he said. “I see the U.S. Army's role in the process of searching for peace to be absolutely critical.”

His visit included the U.S. Army, Pacific, Headquarters at Fort Shafter, Tripler Army Medical Center, the U.S. Pacific Command Headquarters, Special Operations Command - Pacific, and a tour of the Joint POW-MIA Command.

While at Tripler, McHugh spent time not just with the leadership, but visited wounded warriors and hosted a special luncheon with Soldiers from the wounded warrior battalion.

“It’s always a moving opportunity to talk with wounded warriors,” said McHugh. “They lifted my spirits with their courage and their determination. And the courage with which they face the challenges before them is just breathtaking.”

McHugh is the 21st Secretary of the Army and has held the position since Sept. 21, 2009. He was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As secretary of the Army, McHugh has statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the U.S. Army, including manpower, personnel, Reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications and financial management.

McHugh will be visiting U.S. Army commands and Soldiers in Okinawa, Japan and the Philippines.