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BOXESG Visits Australia

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070509-17
Release Date: 5/9/2007 5:24:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW) Joshua Valcarcel, USS Boxer Public Affairs

USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- The ships of Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) made a port visit to Fremantle, Australia, from April 29 to May 3, after completing maritime security operations in U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility.

While in Fremantle they conducted routine maintenance and resupply activities.

During their free time, BOXESG Sailors and Marines were able to experience Australian culture firsthand, through the city and its neighbor Perth, the capital city of Western Australia.

“I had a great time in Perth. It was great visiting someplace new and seeing such beautiful sights,” said USS Boxer’s (LHD 4) Quartermaster Seaman Angela Stewart. “It was fun, but I can’t wait to get home.”

The stop was the first port visit for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC), attached to BOXESG, after completing five months of security operations in Iraq.

“It was a good opportunity for the Marines to deflate, especially after just returning from a combat zone,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Fandrei. “I ate good food. I saw some interesting sights and met some great people.”

The Morale, Welfare and Recreation team aboard USS Boxer (LHD 4) helped Sailors and Marines make the most of the visit by coordinating tours and hotel accommodations.

Also, nearly a hundred Sailors participated in nine community service projects throughout greater Perth: planting trees and shrubs, visiting a children’s hospital, helping people with disabilities and renovating an animal rehabilitation center.

“These projects enable us to reach out and promote brotherhood and sisterhood by lending a helping hand,” said Boxer’s chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. John S. Kroener. “There were so many different opportunities to volunteer in Perth; we had a great response.”

Boxer, commanded by Capt. Bruce W. Nichols, is part of BOXESG, operating out of San Diego and currently under the operational control of Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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