USS Stethem crew joins 80th Shimoda Black Ship Festival

20 May 2019

From MC1 Jeremy Graham, USS Stethem

The forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer pulled into the port of Shimoda, Japan, May 17, to participate in the annual Black Ship Festival.
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Sailors from USS Stethem (DDG 63) and Marines assigned to Camp Fuji march in the 80th annual Shimoda Black Ship Festival parade, May 17. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Jeremy Graham)
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Sailors from USS Stethem (DDG 63) and Marines assigned to Camp Fuji march in the 80th annual Shimoda Black Ship Festival parade, May 17. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Jeremy Graham)
Photo By: MC1 Jeremy Graham
VIRIN: 190518-N-HI376-1162

SHIMODA, Japan - The forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) pulled into the port of Shimoda, Japan, May 17, to celebrate the 80th annual Black Ship Festival.

The festival commemorates the 165th anniversary of the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and the signing of the 1954 Japan-American Treaty of Peace and Amity June 17.

"The opportunity for our crew to celebrate the 80th Black Ship Festival symbolizes the friendship between our two nations," said Cmdr. Jeff W. Benson, commanding officer of Stethem. "The events planned strengthen our bond with the Shimoda community and further advance our military alliance in the region."

Stethem Sailors joined Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors from JS Hirado (MSO-305) and members of the Shimoda community in multiple events including tours of the city, visits to local elementary schools, beach volleyball games, concerts, and a parade.

"This festival is interesting because it has such a strong historical background," said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Zachary Desjardins, a Stethem crew member. "It’s a great opportunity for a cultural exchange between us and the people of Shimoda and to have a positive impact on our host country."

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

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

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