Belgian Navy Days 2012: Training Together to Build Up Partnerships

Belgian Navy Days 2012: Training Together to Build Up Partnerships

Guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) arrived in Zeebrugge, Belgium, to participate in the Belgian Navy Days 2012, July 6-9.

Sailors had the opportunity to socialize with locals, sailors from other foreign navies, visit historical sites in the neighboring town of Brugge and host a reception aboard Normandy, celebrating the partnerships between the maritime nations.

“This is an effective partner-building tool that not many in the service think about using,” said Capt. Kevin Hill, commanding officer of Normandy.Training together is our most common method of building partnerships, but visiting their homeland to show possible recruits that our bonds are strong and efficient has the potential to increase our allies’ forces, which ultimately increases our global force for good.

During the reception, local government and military officials expressed their appreciation for Normandy’s participation in the festivities.

“We all come from different ships, but the one ship we all sail on together is partnership,” said Howard Gutman, U.S. ambassador to Belgium. “We are very proud to have the Normandy and her crew be a part of this event and we really appreciate her service in the U.S. Navy.”

Sailors took in all that Zeebrugge and the neighboring town Brugge had to offer by visiting the many historical churches, palaces, and museums, as well as sampling the local delicacies – beer and chocolate.

“This is my second time visiting Belgium and I love coming here,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Feena Davis. “The locals are so friendly, the city has such amazing architecture and history, and you just can’t beat the food. This was my favorite port visit and I really look forward to coming back.”

Normandy is homeported in Norfolk, Va., and is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Naval Today Staff, July 10, 2012; Image: US Navy