Pacific Ocean - U.S. Navy destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) conducted a passing exercise (PASSEX) with Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship (HMNZS) Endeavour, a Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) fleet replenishment oiler, November 12-13.

Each ship offered guided tours and a meal during both days of the event, using a Sampson rigid-hull inflatable boat to transfer U.S. and RNZN Sailors between ships. Sampson then conducted a replenishment-at-sea with Endeavour on the final day.

"These events aptly demonstrate the close military ties and cooperative capabilities between two leaders in the Pacific," said Cmdr. Tim LaBenz, commanding officer of Sampson. "Both crews operated expertly alongside each other, and it was an honor to host our New Zealand counterparts aboard Sampson."

Sampson is transiting the Western Pacific en route to Auckland, New Zealand, to participate in the Royal New Zealand Navy's International Naval Review commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Sampson's visit to New Zealand will be the first in 30 years for a U.S. Navy ship. While in Auckland, Nov. 17-22, the crew of Sampson will participate in a multi-ship pass-in-review, march in an international parade, and compete in sports tournaments with the crews of other participating ships.

Sampson is assigned to U.S. 3rd Fleet and is currently on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. Though operating in the Western Pacific, an area historically controlled by the 7th Fleet commander, Sampson will remain assigned to the 3rd Fleet commander. This is part of the Pacific Fleet-led initiative to increase the involvement and operational control of the San Diego-based 3rd Fleet beyond the international dateline to increase the command and control capabilities in the dynamic western Pacific theater.