Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) conducted a port visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, April 10-14.
The visit gave Lake Champlain Sailors an opportunity to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners by participating in friendship building activities in the local community.
On the morning of April 13, Lake Champlain crew members played a team of Mexican sailors in a soccer match hosted by the Mexican Navy at Puerto Vallarta Naval Base. Later that day, Sailors from Lake Champlain presented a donation of medical supplies consisting of 21 wheel chairs, 15 walkers, six blind walking poles, six walking canes, and three sets of crutches to local hospitals and philanthropic organizations.
"Today is a great testament that our presence matters and that people matter. We were able to express our appreciation and gratitude to the citizens of Mexico for supporting our joint efforts to secure the well-being of our families, friends, communities, industries and commerce," said Lt. Travis Coffey, the ship's chaplain. "We are so thankful for the unwavering support of our friends, the citizens of Mexico, and we cherish the opportunity to give essential medical equipment to those in need."
Twenty-seven U.S. Sailors along with Mexican naval and government officials, members of the U.S. Navy League and American Legion of Puerto Vallarta, as well as numerous Mexican citizens attended the events.
"I presented a wheelchair and a walker during the ceremony," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Qiyang Li, from San Francisco. "There were also three blind little girls who received walking sticks. They were very happy and thankful for the gifts and were using them right away."
Joint, interagency and international relationships strengthen U.S. 3rd Fleet's ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.