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USS Gary Enjoys Visit To Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070207-10
Release Date: 2/7/2007 11:51:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Barry R. Hirayama, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Japan

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia (NNS) -- From whitewater rafting to visiting with the children at a special needs home, Sailors on the guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) enjoyed the city of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, during a four-day port visit Feb. 2-5.

The crew enjoyed a variety of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours throughout their visit. MWR offered a city tour, island day tour, spa treatment tour and much more. Volunteers from the ship also brought cheer to children during a visit to a local orphanage.

According to Chief Machinist Mate (SW) Jose Torres, MWR coordinator, this port was an overall success for the Sailors, for the Gary, and for the U.S. Navy. "It was truly just a great port visit for everyone," said Torres.

Part of the success included a MWR-sponsored Super Bowl party held at a local hotel where several dozen Gary Sailors were treated to sandwiches, wings and drinks.

“Watching the Super Bowl in Malaysia was unique. I could look outside and see the local people all while watching the game on a big screen TV,” said Yeoman 1st Class (SW/AW) Kevin Mahoney. “I couldn’t ask for better.”

Not only did the Sailors enjoy their visit, they also provided some happiness to local children. About 20 crew members interacted and spent some quality time with the children from the Bukit Harap Home for Children with Special Needs and Orphanage during a community relations project in the city. The volunteers gave gifts and read books that were donated by the chief petty officer’s mess to the more than 40 children in the home.

“This was a very special day for the children,” said Audra Keyworth, administrator of Bukit Harap Home for Children with Special Needs and Orphanage. “All the children love it when they have visitors and some of the children remember some of you from the last time you visited. It’s a really special day for everyone here.”

“I think it meant a lot to the guys who participated,” said Chief Information Systems Technician (SW) David J. Klauck, Gary community relations coordinator. “We look forward to maintaining this relationship.”

This was the second time Gary has visited the Bukit Harap Home for Children.

Gary will next travel to Cambodia, making the first visit to that country by a U.S. Navy ship in 30 years. The frigate is part of Destroyer Squadron 15 and operates out of Yokosuka, Japan, as part of the U.S. Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed Naval force. Gary is currently on its regularly scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

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