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Gridley Arrives in Tomakomai for Port Visit

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110206-03

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Daniel Sanford

TOMAKOMAI, Japan (NNS) -- San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101) arrived in the northern Japanese city of Tomakomai for a port visit Feb. 5 marking the first visit by a U.S navy vessel in more than 16 years.

Gridley's more than 300 Sailors will now spend the next few days taking part in local community relations events, and partaking in local festivals taking place on the island of Hakkido.

The port visit offers the crew some well-deserved liberty time on a deployment that began two months ago.

"The whole crew is excited to be here," said Gridley Command Master Chief Bill Adams. "Our visit presents us with an opportunity to visit an area the Navy hasn't been in a while and it's unique to visit a place that isn't as mainstream as some of the other ports we might visit."

While in port, Gridley Sailors can participate in schedule skiing and snowboarding trips, as well as excursions to local winter festivals.

"I'm definitely going to check out the Sapporo Snow Festival and I'd like to go snowboarding," said Gunner's Mate 1st Class Jared Mason. "I did some research about the local area before we pulled in and it looks like a lot of fun."

With so many events to participate, Adams reminded Gridley Sailors of their role as ambassadors for the Navy.

"The visit will really give our Sailors an opportunity to experience some local culture, cuisine and be an excellent time to interact with the local Japanese populace," said Adams.

Gridley, deployed in December with the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, and is currently operating in the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

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