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Safeguard Visits Kagoshima

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070215-05
Release Date: 2/15/2007 11:18:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Didier, Sasebo Public Affairs Center

KAGOSHIMA, Japan (NNS) -- USS Safeguard (ARS 50) wrapped up a four-day goodwill port visit in Kagoshima, Japan, on Feb. 13, a stopover marked by a number of community outreach activities.

During Safeguard's visit to one of Japan's southernmost cities, the crew members hosted ship tours, participated in a community service project, and played against local teams in softball. The 100-plus crew was also afforded liberty in Kagoshima, allowing them to see and taste all that the enchanting Japanese city had to offer.

Shortly after the ship's arrival Feb. 8, Safeguard Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Doyle K. Hodges visited officials at the Kagoshima Prefecture Government Building, 10th Regional Headquarters of the Maritime Self Defense Force, Kagoshima Minami Police, and the chairman of Kagoshima's Chamber of Commerce.

"I think it gives an opportunity to strengthen, at the official level, the unofficial ties that we build with the community," Hodges said. "[It] also gives us a chance to thank the government and all the other organizations that work to make our port visit possible, for [all] the hard work that they put in extending the hospitality that they give."

The most rewarding highlight during the visit, according to most of the crew, was the service project to the Wakaba Gakuen children's home. Thirty-seven Safeguard Sailors were able to bring joy to more than 85 children there, interacting with them in a variety of arts and crafts.

"I enjoy working with kids," said Seaman Jaimie Arce. "Before I joined the Navy I was working with kids, so being out there with them made me realize how much I enjoy spending time with [them]."

More connection with the Kagoshima community was achieved when members of Safeguard participated in a doubleheader with a local softball team. The day ended as the crew presented the Japanese team with a plaque and a photo of the ship.

According to Hodges the overall port visit was a success and he was delighted with the way his crew represented the Navy.

"I'm very pleased with how the port visit went," he said. "I was really impressed with the turn out on both the community relations visit with the orphanage, and the softball game."

Safeguard is a rescue and salvage ship commanded by Hodges and serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/ Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa with an operating detachment in Sasebo.

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