Seaman James Harback uses binoculars to observe the People's Liberation Army (Navy) Jiangkai II-class frigate Yuncheng (FFG 571) from USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) as it conducts a routine transit through the South China Sea, Nov. 12. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Patrick Dionne)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) conducted a routine patrol in the South China Sea, Nov. 10–15.

Routine operations like this one support regional security, stability and freedom of the seas.

“Fitzgerald’s presence in the South China Sea reinforces the United States’ commitment to peace and regional stability to our partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” said Cmdr. Christopher England, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer.

Since August 2013, destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 interacted with many regional navies while patrolling international waters, such as the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA(N)). Interactions were safe and professional, including courteous radio conversations.

During Fitzgerald’s operations, the ship made regular contact with the PLA(N) Jiangkai II-class frigate Yuncheng (FFG 571). Fitzgerald and Yuncheng regularly exchanged greetings and navigational course changes on bridge-to-bridge radio.

While patrolling the South China Sea, Fitzgerald continued with normal operations including damage control training and live-fire gunnery exercises as it continues a scheduled fall patrol.

“For us, this is very routine,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Justin Brown. “Speaking with ships from the PLA Navy is a common event in the South China Sea and we are always prepared for it. The Chinese vessel was very professional and friendly, and it was a good experience to be able to communicate with them.”

Other U.S. Navy ships conducted similar operations in the 7th Fleet area of operation in recent months, including the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Lassen (DDG 82) and 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).

Fitzgerald is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.