QINQDAO, People’s Republic of China
– Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) had
the opportunity to experience the culture of China during a scheduled
port visit this week.
Nearly 65 sailors, as part of a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR)
sponsored trip, made a trek to the Chinese capital of Beijing and to
the Great Wall, China’s most famous landmark.
“The Great Wall was breathtaking. And the hotel was divine,” said
Chief Quartermaster Derrick Ciena.
The rest of the crew could make their way about the port town of
Qingdao, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics sailing events. The town
offered a variety of scenic and culinary delights for the crew. Modern
shopping malls were juxtaposed against side street antique and
collectable stores for the avid souvenir hunter.
“Shopping was superb,” said Ensign Randall Scott. “The vendors took
extra effort to help us with purchases and even more care in wrapping
In another tour, 20 Sailors went on a cultural expose of the town,
with stops that included Hui Lan Pagoda, the harbor’s historic
lighthouse, and the world famous Tsingtao Beer Factory and Museum.
“[The people] were really interested in interacting with Americans,
and went out of their way to be helpful to us,” said Chief Warrant
Officer Mark Donaldson, Stethem’s Main Propulsion Assistant. “I would
go back just for the kindness we were shown.”
USS Stethem, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, is commanded by Cmdr.
Paul Lyons and is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, as a part of
Destroyer Squadron Fifteen of the U.S. 7th Fleet.