USS Theodore Roosevelt approaches Da Nang
The USS Theodore Roosevelt approaches Da Nang on March 5. Navy photo

The San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill arrived in Da Nang last week for a scheduled visit to commemorate 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations.

Da Nang was the site of a major U.S. air base during the Vietnam War, and now hosts post visits by Navy ships amid growing concerns about Chinese expansion in the region.

“This visit follows on the historic 2018 visit of USS Carl Vinson, the first U.S. aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam in more than 40 years,” said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink. “It also comes at an important time in our bilateral relationship. Just 25 years after the normalization of our diplomatic ties, our relationship is the strongest it has ever been.”

Rear Adm. Stu Baker, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9, said the two warships’ visit is “evidence of the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific where strong, independent nations respect one another’s sovereignty, and uphold the rule of law.”

During the visit, which began March 5, sailors will participate in cultural and professional exchanges, community service projects, sports competitions, and receptions.

“This visit will not only serve to strengthen our bilateral defense relationship, but also help further advance our cultural and professional ties,” said Capt. Brett Crozier, the Theodore Roosevelt’s commanding officer. “We are honored to take part in this important port visit and to receive such a warm welcome.”

The Theodore Roosevelt is America’s fourth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier with a crew of 5,000. It’s the lead ship in a strike group that includes the Bunker Hill and six destroyers.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.