TOMAKOMAI, Japan - USS Gridley, a San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer, arrived in the northern Japanese city of Tomakomai for a port visit Feb. 5.
Gridley's more than 300 sailors will now spend the next few days taking part in local community service events and participating in some of the local festivals currently taking place on the island of Hakkido.
The port visit offers the ship a nice reprieve for Sailors whose deployment aboard the ship began two months ago.
"The whole crew is excited to be here, said USS Gridley Command Master Chief Bill Adams. "Our visit presents us with an opportunity to visit an area the Navy hasn't been in a while and it's unique to visit a place that isn't as mainstream as some of the other ports we might visit."
While in port sailors will take part in community relations events and also have skiing and snowboarding trips planned, as well as excursions to some of the local winter festivals going during their stay.
I'm definitely going to check out the Sapporo Snow Festival and I'd like to go snowboarding," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jared Mason, gunner's mate. "I did some research about the local area before we pulled in and it looks like a lot of fun."
It has been 16 years since since a naval vessel has pulled into Tomakomai.
"I think the visit will really give our sailors an opportunity to really experience some local culture, cuisine and be an excellent time to interact with the local Japanese populace," said Adams.
Gridley began its deployment with the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, Dec 20, 2010, and is currently operating in the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.