Donghae, Republic of Korea - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) pulled into Donghae for a port visit March 9-13.
During the port call, Fitzgerald's crew of about 300 Sailors had a chance to interact with the citizens and rich culture of the Republic of Korea (ROK) through a variety of activities planned alongside their ROK Navy counterparts.
The port visit included visits to a senior center, a tour of some Donghae cultural sites, and sports competitions with ROK Navy Sailors. Fitzgerald also hosted tours of the ship as a way to further improve the relationships between the two navies.
The ship tours were attended by several distinguished visitors, including the commander of the 1st Fleet Republic of Korea Navy and commander of the 23rd Division of the Republic of Korea Army alongside other civil and community leaders from the local area.
"We greatly appreciate the hospitality shown upon our arrival and all of the hard work that went into organizing the various events during our visit," said Cmdr. Jonathan Schmitz, commanding officer of Fitzgerald. "I always look forward to an opportunity to strengthen the ties between our two great navies and nations. We share a common commitment to peace and security throughout the Western Pacific and hope this visit further solidifies that relationship."
With more than 100 Sailors participating in the various events, the crew was excited to not only give back to the community, but experience Korean culture. Second class petty officer Sarah Wells is one of the many Sailors who volunteered to visit the senior center.
"Port visits are an opportunity to do so much, and participating in events such as these ensure that every port visit is a memorable one," said Wells.
Fitzgerald is part of Destroyer Squadron 15, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and are deployed to conduct exercise Foal Eagle 2013 with allied nation Republic of Korea in support of regional security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.