US Navy to visit Republic of Korea island for first time
ABOARD USS STETHEM, At Sea - The guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) is scheduled to arrive in Jeju-do, Republic of Korea (ROK), March 25.
This is the first visit by any U.S. Navy ship since the ROK Joint Civil-Military Complex opened February 26, 2016
Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, will greet the ship along with Rear Adm. Kim, Jeongsu, the commander of Maritime Task Force Flotilla 7, and more than 100 ROK sailors will welcome Stethem to the southern island.
“This may be the first time we [U.S. Navy] will visit Jeju, but he have a long history of visiting the Republic of Korea at ports in Pyeongtaek, Donghae, Mokpo, and Busan,” said Cooper. “So, while the location may be new, our commitment to being good guests, respectful partners, and strong allies is as firm as ever.”
The ship is going to Jeju for a routine port visit following the ship’s participation in Foal Eagle 17, a joint exercise between the Republic of Korea Navy and U.S. Navy.
“We enjoy anytime we get to train with our ROK partners,” said Cmdr. Douglas Pegher, Stethem’s commanding officer, “because with each engagement we improve our cooperation and through that we enhance our combined defensive capabilities. We have trained with them at sea and look forward to strengthening our relationship here in Jeju.”
While in Jeju, Stethem Sailors will have the opportunity to participate in various Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) activities, sporting events, and participate in community relations projects to give back to the local Jeju community.
"We are honored to be here and develop new friendship and strengthen existing relationships through team building exercise, combined sporting events, and by giving back to the island through a community relations event," said Cmdr. Jeff W. Benson, Stethem’s executive officer.
Stethem is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.