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Kearsarge Extends Diplomacy in Malta

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070822-05
Release Date: 8/22/2007 2:11:00 PM

From USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

VALLETA, Malta (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) demonstrated partnership with the government of Malta and participated in numerous community relations projects during their port visit to Valetta, Aug. 15-19.

During their short stay, Kearsarge Sailors and Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) hosted several ministers of government, held a reception for the armed forces of Malta, provided aspiring Maltese business and community leaders an inside look at American military culture, and selflessly gave their time and energy to several charitable organizations.

“I’m proud of everyone on board Kearsarge who participated in these events and took the opportunity to learn of the history and culture here in Malta,” said Kearsarge Commanding Officer Capt. James Gregorski. “We truly appreciated the genuine hospitality and friendly nature of the leaders and people of Malta, which we received upon arrival. We are delighted at the opportunity to promote good will between our nations and further strengthen our relationship.”

The Sailors and Marines of the 22nd MEU also participated in seven different community relations projects while in port.

"[They] performed more [community relations] projects than any ship that has ever visited Malta,” said Jason L. Davis, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Malta.

The community service events included two gospel choir performances at Vittoriosa Parish Church and Millennium Chapel; a soccer game between Kearsarge and the Armed Forces of Malta; and general maintenance at Richmond Kids Youth Home, Little Sisters of the Poor Retirement Home, Saint Joseph Youth Home and Park of Friendship Center for Disabled People.

“We restored the irrigation system," said Lance Cpl. Jason Foersch, an Arabic linguist. "The system was clogged with trash and leaves, so we cleaned it out. It felt good to complete the task because it gave me a chance to give back to the Maltese people for the hospitality they’ve provided during our visit."

Kearsarge left her homeport of Norfolk July 30 on a regularly scheduled deployment as the flagship of the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group, which is comprised of the 22nd MEU, Amphibious Squadron 8, Kearsarge, USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), USS Ponce (LPD 15), USS Carr (FFG 52), USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Vicksburg (CG 69) and USS Miami (SSN 755).

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