USS Mustin (DDG 89) sits at anchor off Shimoda, May 18. (U.S. Navy)

SHIMODA, Japan - The forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) pulled into the port of Shimoda, Japan, May 18, to celebrate the 78th annual Black Ship Festival.

The festival commemorates the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and his ‘Black Ships’ in July 1853, and the signing of the Japan-American Treaty of Trade and Amity on June 17, 1854. The events opened Japan’s borders to trade and fostered relations with the United States.

“It is absolutely a great honor to be a part of Shimoda’s Black Ship Festival,” said Cmdr. Warren Smith, commanding officer of Mustin.

“The crew of the Mustin feels honored to have this opportunity to participate in the 78th Annual Black Ship Festival with our fellow Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Sailors in such a warm and welcoming city and be a part of this long standing tradition.”

Mustin Sailors will represent the heritage of U.S.-Japanese partnership during the festival by participating in multiple community-oriented events including tours of the city, basketball and beach volleyball games, a concert, and a parade.

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Gregory Montero said he is looking forward to participating in the beach volleyball match and the Inaozawa Elementary school visit. “It is a privilege for the crew to be able to participate in this year’s Black Ship Festival. It gives us the chance to interact with the local people of Shimoda through a variety of events and festivities,” said Montero.

The city of Shimoda hosts the event which draws tourists from all over Japan in mid-May each year.

USS Mustin is forward-deployed to Japan, and routinely operates throughout the Indo-Asia- Pacific to support regional security and stability.