NAVY: USS Stethem Conducting “Operations” In The South China Sea

While the world is fixated on tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, the U.S. Navy reports that it is carrying out “operations” in the South China Sea.

As per the Navy’s press release:

The Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer USS STETHEM (DDG 63) forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, is conducting routine operations in the South China Sea.

While in the area, Stethem completed a refueling at sea with Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship (HMNZS) Endeavour (A 11).

Command Senior Chief William Palmer IV said the replenishment allowed Stethem to remain mission ready.

“Conducting these types of operations with our allies builds proficiency and sustains our ability to maintain a persistent presence throughout the 7th Fleet area of operations,” Palmer said.
During operations, Stethem has regularly communicated with naval vessels from the People’s Republic of China. Nations utilize the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) to communicate navigational intentions to ensure safe maneuvering.

Fire Controlman Senior Chief Robert Kline, a Tactical Actions Officer, said the experience working with foreign navies increases the responsiveness and effectiveness of the crew.

“As forward deployed naval forces you are constantly operating around ships from other navies,” Kline said. “This provides vital operational experience that increases our proficiency in mission critical areas.”

The United States is committed to the security of the Indo-Asia- Pacific. The U.S. Navy routinely conducts naval operations in oceans and seas worldwide. Our allies and partners value enduring U.S. Navy presence throughout the Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) area of operations.

Follow Josh Caplan on Twitter at @JoshDCaplan

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