OKINAWA, Japan - USS Stethem (DDG 63) arrived in Okinawa, Japan to participate in the 2010 White Beach Festival Nov, 12, 2010. Her arrival in White Beach marks the first US Navy ship visit during the festival in a decade. As part of the festival, Stethem will provide open ship tours to community service projects, as well as opportunities for the crew to enjoy exploring Okinawa, Japan.

Preparation for this visit started well in advance, as the ship and her crew began planning to open Stethem’s doors for visits from her Japanese neighbors. According to Cdr. Henry Adams, Stethem’s Commanding Officer, “This weekend’s visit is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment and support to Japan. By providing opportunities for the local community and our crew to interact directly – through ship tours, local service projects, and friendly sports competitions – we are also facilitating important cultural exchange between our Sailors and the Japanese people.”

Stethem’s Sailors will conduct open ship tours on both days of the White Beach Festival. In addition to a beach clean-up community relations project, Stethem will strengthen bonds with local Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force sailors through several sports competitions. For some Sailors, like Command Master Chief Kelvin Coleman, this is a return visit to a well-loved duty station. “I met my wife here,” said Coleman, “So this visit is of personal importance to me. I am honored to have the opportunity to reinforce the friendship that is shared between our two nations, and am looking forward to returning to a port that will always remain very special to me.”