SAN DIEGO -
The officers and crew of the guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) played host to sailors from the Luhu-class destroyer CNS Haikou (DDG 171), one of three People's Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] ships which visited Naval Base San Diego, August 10-14.
The Haikou, along with the Jiangkai-class frigate CNS Yueyang (FFG 575) and the Fuqing-class fleet oiler CNS Qiandaohu (AOE 886), were the first ever PLA(N) ships to participate in the Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC), the world's largest international maritime exercise held every two years in and around Hawaii.
The Chinese ships visited San Diego for rest and relaxation after completing the month-long exercise earlier this month.
During their stay in San Diego, crew members from Chinese and Americans ships collaborated in joint receptions, tours and sporting competitions.
Day one featured a ceremonious entry for the visiting ships in which the U.S. Navy Band Southwest performed and the PLA(N) Sailors entertained the spectators with cultural performances featuring lion dancers and drummers.
The celebration also included a speech by Rear Adm. Patrick Lorge, Commander, Navy Region Southwest, where he commended the crews of the Chinese vessels for their efforts in strengthening international relations.
“You have traveled a very long way and worked alongside 21 other countries in a unique training exercise that demonstrated the value of maritime forces,” said Lorge.
The second day Mobile Bay was full of shipboard tours and visitors which included hundreds of Chinese Sailors and officers including Rear Adm Tian Zhong, the Deputy Commander of the PLA Navy, Rear Adm. Shen Jinlong, the Chinese Commander of Chinese Navy’s Task Group 171 and Vice Adm. Kenneth Floyd, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet.
The day then concluded with a festive dinner on board the Haikou for invited guests, who enjoyed a traditional meal, a cultural dance performance, a martial arts demonstration from Chinese Special Forces and a speech from Rear Adm. Shen Jinlong.
The last day of scheduled events started off with a basketball tournament which paired Chinese and American Sailors together on teams, and was followed by similar joint teams in table tennis, volleyball and soccer tournaments. All participants of the sports day enjoyed an American style barbeque of hamburgers, hot dogs, and baked beans.
The games provided an opportunity for Mobile Bay Sailors to interact with their Chinese guests and have a little fun in the process.
“We went out to have a good time with our foreign counterparts,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Michael Cascio. "In the end, it was a great way to build camaraderie, not just among ourselves, but also with the PLA(N) Sailors."
The U.S. Navy encourages international port visits in order to strengthen our relationships and enhance stability and peace throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The ability of maritime forces to work together benefits the security interests of all Pacific nations.