Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is trying to send a message during a weeklong trip to the Asia-Pacific region: The U.S. is back.
Panetta continues Monday to Vietnam, where he's hoping to build stronger defense ties. The trip began Sunday with a historic return to a key crossroads of the Vietnam War: Cam Ranh Bay.
Panetta boarded a little ferry boat Sunday in the beautiful natural harbor north of Ho Chi Minh City. On board, he asked about his destination: the USNS Richard E. Byrd, a big supply ship docked on the other side of the bay.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is on a week-long trip to Asia, with stops in Singapore, Vietnam and India. As NPR's Larry Abramson tells host Rachel Martin, Panetta's trip highlights the Pentagon's new strategic focus on China and the Pacific.