U.S. Ships Visit Vladivostok 
VLADIVOSTOK (NNS) -- The frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) and the mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Vladivostok July 23, to participate in celebrating Navy day.

The four-day port visit will bring Sailors from Patriot and Vandegrift together with members of the Japanese and Russian navies to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the Russian navy. Navy Day is an annual holiday in Russia that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of the Russian Navy to the country's peace and security.

"Port visits like this provide very important opportunities for us to demonstrate our commitment to fostering growing relationships with our partnership nations," said Vandegrift's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Steven Prescott.

"We are honored to be invited here for Navy Day," said Lt. Cmdr. Walter Mainor, Patriot's commanding officer. "The United States and Russia share a common interest in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and we look forward to fostering a growing relationship with our Russian counterparts."

While many Sailors look forward to enjoying the hospitality, culture and sightseeing in Vladivostok, there are several who decided to use their time to help the local community. A group of about 20 Sailors will be volunteering to help underprivileged children at the Parus Nadezhdy Rehabilitation Center and host a chess match between Vandegrift Sailors and local children.

"It's great to feel like we have made a difference for the better, to give back to the children and the community," said Mineman 2nd Class Tyler King, Patriot's community service projects coordinator.

"This is the first time most of us have been to Russia. It's a great opportunity for the crew to experience a new culture and make new friends," said Prescott.

Vandegrift is an independently deployed ship homeported in San Diego, currently deployed in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR). Patriot, led by Lt. Cmdr. Walter Mainor, is currently fulfilling Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet and Mine Countermeasure Squadron 7 tasking and is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan.
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