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CHENNAI, India - The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) arrived in India Nov. 3 for a port visit.
"McCampbell's crew is very excited for the port visit to Chennai," said Cmdr. Sharif Calfee, McCampbell's commanding officer. "For nearly the entire crew this will be their first port visit to India. Many of the crew have expressed interest in participating in tours of culturally significant places in Chennai."
Chennai, on the eastern coast of India, is steeped in history. Many of today's major religious sects can trace their history back centuries to the surrounding area.
Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, British, French, and Dutch frequented the area for trade and travel. It was founded about 350 years ago as the first of the British Empire's trading and military ports in South East Asia. While ashore, McCampbell Sailors will explore a new culture and country, enjoy Indian cuisine, and participate in India's most popular sport- cricket.
"I saw cricket on the list of activities and I wanted to sign up right away," said Ensign Austin Fleming, who played cricket in the U.S. with his local church group in Southern California. "My pastor was from India, and we would play every so often. I think it will be a lot of fun."
Sailors will also participate in a variety of community relations events where they will visit schools and community organizations to read, teach, play, and interact with children and local community members.
"Helping children is a passion of mine," said Ensign Hannah Yun. "I love to see them grow, and I love to be a role model for those children who don't have one."
McCampbell is a part of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan is currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations providing security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
"This is a valuable opportunity to further interoperability and forge greater levels of understanding and mutual cooperation between the navies of the world's two largest democracies," said Capt. Paul Lyons, commander of DESRON 15, embarked aboard McCampbell. "Our presence here in India is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to shared values, shared interests, and furthering relationships with our Indian naval counterparts."