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Harpers Ferry Visits Doha, Qatar

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS041019-03
Release Date: 10/19/2004 3:32:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class Brian Biller, USS Harpers Ferry Public Affairs

ABOARD USS HARPERS FERRY (NNS) -- USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) called on the port of Doha, Qatar, Oct. 11 for a three-day ground breaking visit. The first U.S. warship to visit the port in more than two years, Harpers Ferry Sailors enjoyed the sights and venues of this city and were able to play host to a few young visitors from local schools.

During the port visit, several Sailors devoted a bit of their liberty time to visiting and working with local school children. Some students, including the 4th and 5th grade classes from Al Jazeera School, toured Harpers Ferry.

"My favorite part of the tour was when we took them to the mess decks, and seeing all the kids smiling and sharing what they saw with their classmates," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Jesus J. Montes.

Official visits were also part of the plan for the ship while in port Doha. The commanding officer and wardroom played host to members of the Qatari Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, who toured the ship and enjoyed lunch aboard. Over lunch, the conversations quickly turned to the adventures of life at sea.

"Sailors are Sailors around the world, and those of us who go to sea in ships have an inherent understanding of each other," said Harpers Ferry Commanding Officer Cmdr. Burt Quintanilla II.

"We enjoyed the instant camaraderie of military men and women that is universal," he added. "We have a lot in common, and we share it for the common good."

As part of the visit, the Qatari officers also helped cut the Navy's 229th birthday celebration cake in the wardroom.

Harpers Ferry is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and the celebration in Qatar was a highlight for the ship, now deployed to the Arabian Gulf.

"It is an honor to be a part of this wartime surge," said Harpers Ferry Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Tim Crone. "As part of the FDNF (Forward Deployed Naval Force), we pride ourselves on being ever-ready. This operation has afforded us an opportunity to demonstrate our skills in yet another theater, as well as experience the culture of the region."

Harpers Ferry is part of the USS Essex (LHD 2) Expeditionary Strike Group, which was activated Sept. 10. Marine Brig. Gen. Joseph V. Medina, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3/commander, Task Force 58, along with his staff, amphibious ships, various cruisers, destroyers, patrol craft, Coast Guard vessels and coalition forces, are helping provide security and stability in the Northern Arabian Gulf.

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