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NEWS | July 21, 2014

Fitzgerald Strengthens Relations with Japan through Goodwill Port Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin V. Cunningham, USS Fitzgerald Public Affairs

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) arrived in Fukuoka, Japan, July 18 for a goodwill and friendship building port visit.

This marks Fitzgerald's first visit to Japan's sixth largest city.

"We are excited to interact and learn more about the beautiful Japanese culture and share a bit of our own," said Cmdr. Robert Y. Shu, Fitzgerald's executive officer. "The port visit represents an opportunity for Sailors to serve as goodwill ambassadors of the U.S. It also serves as an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to regional partnerships, and foster growing relationships."

During this port visit, Fitzgerald plans to foster international relationships through friendly interactions including community relations events and sporting competitions.

"Visiting a port like Fukuoka gives us the opportunity to see other parts of Japan and interact with people that don't often see American Sailors," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Jordan K. Belcher, from Witchita, Kansas. "I'm proud to be able to represent my country in a new place."

Fostering relations with allies through friendly community interactions in port is part of America's maritime strategy to build a joint coalition force of allies capable of ensuring maritime security.

Fitzgerald is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, a key element to 7th Fleet, the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with approximately 60 ships, 250 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.

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