U.S. 7th Fleet Kicks Off Vietnam Naval Exchange Activity 2011
DA NANG, Vietnam - The U.S. Navy began naval exchange activities with the Vietnam People’s Navy on July 15 in Da Nang in conjunction with the 16th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
This seven-day collaboration will focus on non-combatant events and skills exchanges in areas such as navigation and maintenance. Medical and dental civic action projects, ship visits, band concerts, community service events, and U.S.-Vietnamese Navy sporting events are also planned. These activities underscore the closer ties between the U.S. and Vietnam.
“This exchange helps our respective Sailors gain a greater understanding of one another and builds important relationships between our navies for the future,” said Rear Adm. Tom Carney, commander, Task Force 73 and commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific.
U.S. units participating in the naval exchange activities include the guided missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and USS Preble (DDG 88); the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50); Sailors from Task Force 73, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, and a Mobile Diving and Salvage Detachment.
The U.S. Navy has had several successful port visits to Vietnam in recent years. In 2009, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) hosted the first-ever fly-out of visitors from Vietnam to a U.S. aircraft carrier, and the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and the destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), commanded by H.B. Le, a Vietnamese-American, visited in November 2009. In 2010, another fly-out of visitors occurred to USS George Washington (CVN 73), and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) visited Da Nang as part of naval exchange activities. USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) also visited Vietnam in May 2010 as part of a large-scale humanitarian assistance mission, Pacific Partnership.
In addition to port visits, two U.S. Navy military sealift command ships have undergone voyage repairs at Vietnamese shipyards. Safeguard (T-ARS 50) had work completed at Saigon Shipmarine shipyard in August-September 2009, and USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) in February-March 2010 had work done by Cam Rahn shipyard, at Hong Koi port, Van Phong Bay.