Updated  
April, 07 2014 14:23:00

US, Viet Nam begin annual Naval Engagement Activity

The event began with a welcome ceremony for the USS John S McCain (DDG 56) and USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50) at Da Nang's Tien Sa Port today.— Photo vtc
DA NANG (VNS) — The US Navy and the Viet Nam People's Navy began the annual Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) yesterday.

The event began with a welcome ceremony for the USS John S McCain (DDG 56) and USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50) at Da Nang's Tien Sa Port today.

This is the fifth consecutive NEA Vietnam to be held and the 10th year that US Navy ships have called on the port of Da Nang. The USS John S McCain last visited Da Nang in 2010 as part of the inaugural NEA Vietnam, which helped mark the 15th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the US and Viet Nam.

Speaking to reporters on the pier, Captain Paul Schlise, commodore of Destroyer Squadron Seven, emphasised that NEA Viet Nam and the many port visits by US Navy ships over the past decade are key examples of growing navy-to-navy cooperation.

"Each year, NEA Viet Nam builds mutual trust and understanding, provides a key venue to address shared maritime security priorities and concerns, and develops our ability to operate with confidence in the maritime domain," said Schlise.

NEA Viet Nam focuses on non-combatant professional exchanges in military medicine, search and rescue, diving and salvage and shipboard damage control. It is also an opportunity to develop relationships that will serve both navies for many years to come through ship tours, 7th Fleet band concerts, sporting events and community service projects.

Approximately 400 US Navy Sailors and civilian mariners are participating in NEA Viet Nam 2014. The participating units include the USS John S McCain, the USNS Safeguard with embarked Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five, staff from Destroyer Squadron Seven and Commander, Task Force 73, and the US 7th Fleet Band, Orient Express.

As scheduled, the US 7th Fleet Band Orient Express will perform at Da Nang Technology College along with a sporting exchange today.

The band will also perform at a public concert at the city's Pham Van Dong Park from 6pm to 8.30pm tomorrow.

Commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific Rear Admiral Cindy Thebaud; Commander of Destroyer Squadron Seven Captain Paul Schlise; the Captains of USS John S McCain and USNS Safeguard; and US Consulate General Deputy Principal Officer Robert Ogburn will represent the US delegation during the six-day visit. — VNS

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