Sailors aboard USS Lassen (DDG 82) point out equipment on the bridge to visiting Royal Malaysian Navy counterparts during a tour of the ship in Kota Kinabalu. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Corey T. Jones)

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) arrived in Kota Kinabalu for a port visit Oct. 19, after conducting a routine South China Sea patrol.

"With the natural splendor Kota Kinabalu has to offer, I am privileged and eager for Lassen to visit," said Cmdr. Robert Francis, commanding officer of Lassen. "For most of our Sailors, this will be their first time in Malaysia, and it will be a good break following a long and demanding patrol in the South China Sea."

Lassen spent the last four weeks on a routine patrol in international waters in the South China Sea, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Numerous interactions occurred while at sea with foreign vessels, including Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) Jiangkai-class frigates Yueyang (575) and Yantai (538), and Jianghu-class frigate Dandong (543). Lassen used the Codes for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and standard bridge-to-bridge communication to ensure safe and professional navigation.

Other U.S. Navy ships performed similar operations in the 7th Fleet area of operations in recent months, including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3).

During the port visit, Lassen Sailors will have the opportunity to experience Malaysian culture while enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding land and seascapes. More than 150 Sailors will participate in tours organized by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) committee in coordination with Malaysian authorities. Lassen is also scheduled to host local dignitaries on guided tours of the ship.

U.S. Navy port visits not only improve the quality of life for sailors, but also play an important role in promoting peace and stability by strengthening relationships between the U.S. and Malaysia.

Lassen is one of eight destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 which are forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.