A U.S. ship called the USS Carl Vinson made a friendship visit March 5 to Vietnam — the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier has anchored in the country since the end of the Vietnam War more than four decades ago.
“The visit marks an enormously significant milestone in our bilateral relations and demonstrates U.S. support for a strong, prosperous and independent Vietnam,” said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink. “Through hard work, mutual respect, and by continuing to address the past while we work toward a better future, we have gone from former enemies to close partners.”
The more than 6,000 crew members aboard the supercarrier have scheduled soccer and basketball matches with their counterparts in Vietnam.
Naval officials praised their Vietnamese hosts for the logistical support that allowed the visit and thanked them for a warm welcome. “The United States and Vietnam are cooperating more closely than ever before,” said Rear Admiral John Fuller, who commands the U.S. carrier group.
A sign of stability
In port, a U.S. cruiser and a destroyer joined the 333-meter aircraft carrier. The group will set sail from Vietnam on March 9. It will then continue on a routine deployment in the Indo-Pacific region. From the Philippines to Vietnam, the U.S. aims to strengthen friendships, maintain stability and keep open vital sea lanes, Fuller said.
The 2018 port call in Danang follows an October 2017 visit from Vietnamese officials to the carrier, when it anchored off the coast of Southern California.
“The nations in the Pacific are maritime nations,” Fuller said. “They value stability. … That’s exactly what we are here for. This is a very visible and tangible presence. The United States is here again.”