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This visit is the first time a U.S. Navy ship has made port in Sri Lanka since the USS Charleston (LCS 18) visited in June of 2021.
“Our visit has strengthened our partnership with the Sri Lankan Navy and deepened our ties to the Sri Lankan people,” said Cmdr. David Catterall, commanding officer of Fitzgerald. “Seeing our two navies and two nations come together in this way has been exciting and rewarding.”
During the port visit, the Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team from Fitzgerald conducted training with the Sri Lankan Navy. Each team conducted operations on a vessel to learn from one another.
“This was a very unique and rewarding opportunity to work with the Sri Lankan Navy and train on VBSS tactics,” said Lt. j.g. Kenneth Machemehl, VBSS boarding officer for Fitzgerald. “Seeing how different navies train to respond to different threats and how they utilize different assets greatly improved the knowledge and experience of the VBSS team.”
Joint in-port recreational activities will include soccer and volleyball games, and social opportunities for members of both navies to get to know each other and experience the area together. Moral Welfare and Recreation (MWR) and the Sri Lankan Navy will host limited tours to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Pigeon Rock National Park, the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, and the Dambulla Cave Temple.
“Seeing the Buddhist Temple at Dambulla and the wildlife of Sri Lanka at the Minneriya Park is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Julie Hoang, a tour participant. “I am so excited to learn more about the culture and people of Sri Lanka.”
Fitzgerald is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with alliances and partnerships while serving as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
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