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From USS Stethem Public Affairs

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (NNS) -- USS Stethem (DDG 63) arrived in Vladivostok, Russia, for a scheduled port visit July 1. The visit provides an opportunity to promote stability in the Asia-Pacific region by demonstrating that the United States and Russia are committed to a regional partnership and the growth of foreign relations.

Stethem's commanding officer was greeted with a bread and salt ceremony, which is a traditional Russian welcome ceremony, attended by Russian military and civilian dignitaries.

"The welcome shown here is deeply appreciated as we work to foster an open and continued relationship between our two nations," said Stethem's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Shan Byrne.

Events planned during Stethem's visit to Vladivostok include involvement in the City Day celebrations, meetings with military and civil dignitaries, participation in sporting events, community service projects and academic conferences.

This is the second visit to Vladivostok by Stethem. During the previous visit in May 2008, crew members enjoyed their time during events related to Victory Day.

Stethem is named in honor of Petty Officer Robert Stethem, killed by terrorists on the hijacked TWA Flight 847 in 1985. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for the heroism he displayed that day.

Stethem is part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, as part of the 7th Fleet.

Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, covering 52 million square miles with approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.

For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c7f/.
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