SUKUMO, Japan (NNS) -- USS Russell (DDG 59) departed Sukumo, Japan, after a successful port visit, June 1.
This was the first time a U.S. Navy ship has visited Sukumo and the first time since 1999 that an American ship has visited Shikoku Island.
"The positive image and professionalism displayed by Russell's Sailors will have a great impact on the residents of Sukumo for years to come," said Rear Adm. Bill Goodwin, commander, Carrier Strike Group 9.
"Sukumo is a wonderful site for a port visit," said Cmdr. James Kilby, Russell's commanding officer. "They truly rolled out the red carpet and the Sailors had a wonderful time throughout the visit."
Sailors also took advantage of sporting events, such as a softball game and a community service project with a school for handicapped children.
The city of Sukumo went all-out to support the ship, including welcome banners throughout town, holding a welcome ceremony and citywide festival.
The "Summer Welcome Festival" was dedicated to the ship's visit and the Sukumo mayor met the ship on arrival. More than 150 Sailors attended and enjoyed the Japanese culture, such as the Bon Festival dance.
"The town of Sukumo did everything humanly possible to support us and treated us like royalty," said Kilby.
Russell also hosted a media availability period, and a dinner reception aboard the ship.
Kilby added that the visit will definitely be a port call to remember for both Russell Sailors and the residents of Sukumo.
Russell, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is on a scheduled Western Pacific deployment with Carrier Strike Group 9, including USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS Shoup (DDG 86) out of Everett, Wash., and USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) homeported in San Diego.
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