SAN DIEGO – After three weeks underway, the Chilean Frigate Almirante Lynch (FFG-07) pulled into Naval Base San Diego for a port visit prior to their participation in the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise. Decatur sailors were waiting on the pier to serve as line handlers and ambassadors as the vessel moored.
Decatur was Almirante Lynch’s sponsor throughout the course of the week-long port visit before RIMPAC. Twenty-five countries participated in the 26th RIMPAC exercise off the coast of Hawaii. The exercise enhances interoperability among Pacific Rim armed forces to promote stability in the region. The Chilean navy played a pivotal role this year as the leader of the maritime component, the first non-English-speaking country to do so. A Chilean commodore coordinated over 50 vessels, 200 aircraft, and five submarines, drawn together from around the world.
Capt. Daniel Muñoz, Almirante Lynch’s commanding officer, said that the transit to San Diego was a good opportunity to continue the internal training of the crew and to prepare the ship to represent Chile and its navy in its bicentennial, as well as to perform the traditional baptism of the sailors who crossed the equator for the first time.
Even with the upcoming exercise, the port visit was a time of relaxation and celebration. Almirante Lynch and Decatur sailors seized the opportunity to tour each other’s ships, trade challenge coins, and get to know their counterparts. The highlight of the week was a reception on Almirante Lynch that hosted diplomats and Pacific Fleet staff in addition to various members of Decatur’s cardroom and CPO mess. The Chileans showed off their heritage with demonstrations of dance and music in addition to their food and drink with guests.
“It was a true honor to host our Chilean counterparts as we welcomed them to San Diego and built lasting professional and personal relationships,” said Cmdr. Bob Bowen, Decatur’s commanding officer.
Following the week in port, Almirante Lynch got underway for Hawaii and participated in RIMPAC.