Wednesday, February 11, 2015

USNA Hosts Chinese Naval Officers

Twenty-nine Chinese naval officers were given a guided tour of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Monday, Feb. 2.

The tour was a mutual effort, established by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, and Chinese Naval Chief, Wu Shengli, to improve and gain a better understanding of each other's Navy and in the future to help prevent miscalculation between the U.S. and China naval forces.

"The officers are here to visit the area and see what the U.S. Navy has to offer," said Cmdr. George Kessler, Asia-Pacific Section Chief. "The whole goal is that we increase each other's familiarity with one another so that when we are out to sea and we're picking up bridge to bridge communications, we are aware of who is on the other end and have a common background to communicate with one another."

While touring the academy, the delegation met Vice Adm. Ted Carter, Naval Academy superintendent, and Capt. Bill Byrne, commandant of Midshipmen. The officers had the opportunity to have lunch with midshipmen in King Hall. After lunch the group visited midshipmen classrooms 

"I am enjoying the tour of the Naval Academy very much," said Ensign Yin Xin, Chinese naval officer. "It is a very beautiful place and I have learned a lot about the history of your navy from our tour here. The U.S. Naval Academy looks very different from the Chinese academy but we learn similar things." 

The Chinese delegation included 29 operational officers covering all backgrounds throughout China including, commanding officers, executive officers, operations specialists submariners, and aviators.

After their tour of the academy, they headed to the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, Rhode Island, where, "they are going to work with surface warfare officer [instructors] and focus on operational safety issues, ship handling, bride to bridge communications, code for unanticipated encounters at sea," added Kessler.

According to Kessler, a delegation of American naval officers is scheduled to travel to China later this year for a continuation of the goodwill effort.

"The plan is to send a delegation of prospective commanding officers to increase communication and military relationships between the U.S. and China," said Kessler.

The Naval Academy has a number of exchange opportunities available to midshipmen interested in foreign language and culture. A midshipman may apply for a short overseas language and culture immersion program and/or a one-semester language abroad program, subsidized by the International Programs Office. These enrichment programs greatly improve the participants' language levels and their cultural understanding and awareness, leading to high-placement in language courses and validation of certain required courses for the major. 

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