USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) and USS Coronado (LCS 4) arrive at Cam Ranh International Port, July 5. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Joshua Fulton)

CAM RANH, Vietnam - The U.S. Navy began the eighth annual Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with the Vietnam People's Navy on July 5 with the arrival of USS Coronado (LCS 4) and USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52) at Cam Ranh International Port.

This five-day collaboration will focus on events and skills exchanges in diving and salvage and undersea medicine. A brief at-sea phase will allow ships from both navies to practice the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), ship handling, and medical evacuations. Subject matter expert exchanges ashore will focus on shipboard damage control, shipboard medicine, and law. NEA will also feature formal office calls, band concerts, community relations events, and team sports.

“The United States values our comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and we look forward to deepening our relationship and people-to-people ties through engagements like NEA,” said Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander, Task Force 73. “By working and interacting together regularly we foster meaningful relationships and trust between our nations that contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region.”

This is the first time the event is being held in Khanh Hoa Province and the eighth iteration of NEA Vietnam since it was established as an annual engagement in 2010. Previous NEAs were held in Da Nang.

"Our partnership with the Vietnam People's Navy continues to grow stronger each year," said Capt. Alexis T. Walker, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. "We're excited to have the opportunity to work alongside our partners here in Vietnam and build off the success of last year's engagement."

In addition to USS Coronado and USNS Salvor, U.S. units participating in Naval Engagement Activity Vietnam include personnel from Task Force 73, Destroyer Squadron 7, and the U.S. 7th Fleet Band.

“These naval activities underscore the deepening and diverse relationship between the United States and Vietnam. Our security cooperation was an important discussion point during the recent meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc,” noted U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius.

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. NEAs were designed to foster mutual understanding, build confidence in the maritime domain and develop relationships between the people and navies of both nations.

Commander, Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 staff conduct advanced planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of NEA Vietnam, in addition to maritime exercises such as the bilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) series and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

apt. Lex Walker, commander of Destroyer Squadron 7, is greeted by senior Vietnam People’s Navy officials during the opening ceremony for Naval Engagement Activity Vietnam. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Joshua Fulton)