VLADIVOSTOK, Russia - The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) departed Vladivostok, Russia on Oct. 4.
“This port visit was a huge success,” said Cmdr. Brian Mutty, commanding officer of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). “The crew had a fantastic time exploring the city and enjoying the culture and history of Vladivostok. We look forward to future visits and interactions with the Russian Pacific Fleet both in port and at sea.”
The official U.S. delegation was led by the commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, Capt. John Shultz. Shultz and Mutty had the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet, the Deputy Mayor of Vladivostok, the U.S. Consulate General, and the Commander of Surface Ships Force, Russian Pacific Fleet. Additionally, DESRON 15 and the leadership of USS Fitzgerald held planning meetings in preparation for the upcoming joint exercise “Pacific Eagle” with the Russian Slava-class missile cruiser Varyag.
The Russian Navy hosted tours for both the U.S. delegation and the crew of USS Fitzgerald onboard the Udaloy-class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov (BPK 545). Fitzgerald was also open for tours for distinguished guests and their families. On the third evening in port, USS Fitzgerald hosted a reception for over 150 guests.
Along with the tour of the Russian ship, USS Fitzgerald Sailors also had the chance to play basketball and soccer with their Russian counterparts.
“I love soccer and was excited for the opportunity to play an international match,” said Seaman Phillip Nagel. “No matter where you are in the world, soccer is the same great sport. The Russians were fantastic competitors and we had a blast out on the field.”
The crew of Fitzgerald interacted with the Vladivostok community throughout their visit, particularly with the Parus Nadezhdy Children’s Rehabilitation Center. More than 20 Sailors participated in a trip to the center on the second day in port. Following a morning filled with relay races, songs and games, USS Fitzgerald invited the children onboard for a tour of the ship.
“I had a great time playing with the kids,” commented Operations Specialist 2nd Class Hugo Suarez. “It was very rewarding just to see the smiles on their faces – it made my day.”
USS Fitzgerald is assigned to DESRON 15 and patrols the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The U.S. 7th Fleet covers 48 million square miles with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft, and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any time.