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Partnership of the Americas Arrives in Valparaiso

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070526-08
Release Date: 5/26/2007 12:48:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Alexia M. Riveracorrea

VALPARAISO, Chile (NNS) -- USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), a unit of Partnership of the Americas (POA) Task Group 40.0, arrived in Valparaiso, May 23 for a port visit after transiting the Strait of Magellan and the Patagonian channels located on the Chilean coast.

During their visit Pearl Harbor Sailors will be conducting a variety of events including two memorial ceremonies, sporting events, guided tours and hosting a reception on board Pearl Harbor.

“In Valparaiso, we will improve the interoperability of the Chilean and U.S. Navy by building relationships with the local military and government officials,” said Pearl Harbor Commanding Officer Cmdr. Victor Cooper. “Pearl Harbor Sailors will also get the opportunity to build friendships with the Chilean Navy and local community by participating in sporting events that are also important ways to accomplish the mission of Partnership of the Americas. I expect the crew to really enjoy this port visit.”

Sailors will off-load and deliver Project Handclasp donations of medical and recreational supplies to Gustavo Fricke Hospital and the Sonrisa School, and carryout a community relations project at a local school in the city of ConCon, Valparaiso.

“Our participation in these types of activities is important because it helps us help others,” said Lt. Dennis Wheeler, Pearl Harbor’s command chaplain. “Sailors love to volunteer for community relations projects, because it is a way of doing something different ... it is also the best time for anyone to experience the real community.”

Sailors will also have the opportunity to relax and learn about the Chilean culture by signing up for various tours offered by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee. Tour opportunities include: Santiago City tour, horseback riding, and a wine tasting tour.

“I look forward to this port visit; I want to learn more about the Chilean culture and its traditions,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Kareem Benavides. "It is going to good be a opportunity to meet new people.”

During the Valparaiso port visit, the 24th Marines will embark in preparation for their participation in Teamwork South events which will take place the end of May with the Chilean Navy.

POA Task Group 40.0 will be conducting Teamwork South and UNITAS Pacific Phase and consists of dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57), guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and Chilean frigate CS Almirante Latorre (FFG 14).

POA 2007 is a U.S. Naval Forces Southern command deployment designed to support U.S. Southern Command in its area of responsibility by focusing on is enhancing relationships with regional partner nations through a variety of exercises and events at sea and ashore throughout South America and the Caribbean.

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