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Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group Completes Port Visit to Da Nang to Commemorate 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations

Diep Nguyen
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The visit, which commemorated 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations, followed the historic 2018 visit of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), demonstrated the strong U.S. commitment to its comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group Completes Port Visit to Da Nang to Commemorate 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) successfully completed a scheduled five-day port visit to Da Nang, Vietnam on March 9.  The visit, which commemorated 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations, followed the historic 2018 visit of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), demonstrated the strong U.S. commitment to its comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Mr. Hồ Kỳ Minh, Vice Chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee hosted the ceremony to welcome the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group, which included representatives of Navy Zone 3, Military Region 5, Da Nang Border Guard, Department of Foreign Relations/Ministry of National Defense, Department of Military Medicine and General Department of Logistics, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Da Nang People’s Committee, and other Vietnamese government agencies.  
The United States delegation was led by Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, Rear Adm. Stu Baker, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Marie Damour, and other officials from CSG 9 and the U.S. Mission in Vietnam.
“We are honored to receive such a wonderful and warm welcome from the people of Vietnam,” said Adm. Aquilino in a March 6 telephone briefing with journalists.  “This port call highlights our continued cooperation and strong support for Vietnam…Our commitment to each other, including this week’s visit, will help ensure a stable, predictable, and durable relationship based on mutual interests, values, and trust.”
“Through hard work, mutual respect, and continuing to address the past while we work toward a better future, the United States and Vietnam have grown a partnership grounded in trust and mutual respect,” added Ambassador Kritenbrink in the same phone briefing.  “This, of course, is the second time a U.S. Carrier Strike Group has visited Vietnam.  Visits like these not only strengthen the United States’ partnership with Vietnam, but they also continue to ensure peace and stability and freedom of commerce across the region.  This visit is just one more step forward in strengthening our friendship and partnership with Vietnam, and I could not be more optimistic about our shared future together.”
During the visit, sailors from both ships participated in cultural exchanges and community service projects including making crafts, playing sports, a language exchange, gardening, and painting at Da Nang’s Vocational Charity Center, the Center of the Charity and Child Protection Association, the Agent Orange Victims Center, Hoa Mai Orphanage, and Dong A University, demonstrating the importance of people-to-people ties between the United States and Vietnam.  A professional exchange taking place during the visit focused on cooperating on infectious disease prevention.  Adm. Aquilino and Ambassador Kritenbrink also addressed business leaders at a lunch hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce. 
“Our relationship with Vietnam is also built on strong people-to-people ties and it relies on our ability to engage one-on-one in professional and humanitarian activities,” stated Ambassador Kritenbrink in the March 6 phone briefing.  “This ship visit offers the opportunity for Americans and Vietnamese to share skills related to, for example, the control of infectious disease and language capabilities, to enjoy concerts and sporting events together, and to engage in community activities throughout Da Nang.”
The popular U.S. Pacific Fleet Band returned to Da Nang to perform at numerous community relations events, U.S. and Vietnam-hosted receptions, and a concert at the Nguyen Hien Dinh Tuong Theatre in Da Nang streamed live on the Embassy and Consulate Facebook pages.  Included in their performances were the popular Vietnamese songs “Để Mị nói cho mà nghe” and “Nối vòng tay lớn”.
The visit also offered an opportunity for a number of Vietnamese American sailors in the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group to visit Vietnam.  “I haven’t been back to Vietnam in over 20 years.  I look forward to reconnecting with my culture and enjoying Vietnamese food,” said Tho Nguyen, Chief Electrician’s Mate aboard the USS Bunker Hill.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations.  As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

DIEP NGUYEN