VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (July 2, 2011) Sailors aboard the guided missile Frigate USS Ford (FFG 54) man the rails as the ship arrives in Vladivostok, Russia for a port visit.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow)

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia - The guided-missile frigate USS Ford (FFG 54) arrived in Vladivostok, Russia for a port visit July 2.

The visit to Vladivostok is a first for Ford’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Donald Foss, and his crew. He said the entire crew is looking forward to engaging with the Russian navy and interacting with the local community.

"We are honored to be here in Vladivostok," said Foss. "The U.S. and Russia share a common interest in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. My crew and I look forward to this experience and fostering a growing relationship with our Russian counterparts."

While in port, Ford will host a reception on its flight deck for Russian military officials and distinguished guests. Ford Sailors will provide guided tours of the ship for media and guests and also participate in sporting events.

While Ford Sailors look forward to enjoying the hospitality, culture, and sights of Vladivostok, they will also be spending time giving back to the local community.

More than 40 Ford Sailors will be volunteering to help underprivileged children at the Parus Nadezhdy Rehabilitation Center and visiting the Regional Children Cancer Ward.

“Anytime I take part in community service projects I have a lot of fun plus it feels good to give back,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Wesely Pershing from San Dinas, Calif. “I think it’s great to lend a helping hand when you are able to. It gives you the opportunity to show your appreciation for being able to visit their country and show your support. This will be my first time in Russia I cannot wait to get the chance to explore it.”

To many Ford Sailors, the opportunity to visit Russia is something they said they would never forget.

“To see the world is one of the reasons I joined the Navy, I am really looking forward to seeing Russia,” said Interior Communications Technician 1st Class (SW) Steve Moss of Myrtle Point, Ore. “How many people can say they have been to Russia? After this visit I will be able to say I have.”

Since the departure from its homeport of Everett, Wash. in May, Ford has visited Hawaii, Guam, Japan and Malaysia. Ford has also taken part in a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, further strengthening international partnerships through a range of joint naval operations.

Ford is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 9. The ship is an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate and can provide in-depth defense against air, surface and sub-surface threats for military and merchant shipping.