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Philippine Sea Makes Port Call in Turkey

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080627-10
Release Date: 6/27/2008 2:44:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ryan Steinhour, Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group, Public Affairs

AKSAZ, Turkey (NNS) -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) visited Aksaz, Turkey, June 15-18, following three months in the Navy's 5th Fleet area of operations in support of theater security cooperation objectives and Maritime Security Operations (MSO).

Philippine Sea's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) organized several tours for the Sailors.

"We had nearly 200 Sailors sign up for Turkey tours, the most popular being white-water rafting, 'Turkish night' and [visiting] Pamukkale," said Lt. j. g. Larry Gulliver, Philippine Sea's MWR officer.

"The Sailors get to experience the culture and see the country with some guidance. Many of the Sailors I got a chance to talk said this was the best port we've visited."

In addition to tours, Lt. Deidre Green, Philippine Sea's chaplain, organized a community relations (COMREL) project at the Marmaris House of Peace, a home for the elderly. A dozen Sailors voluteered for the event. There, they spoke with residents and planted trees throughout the neighborhood.

"The Turkish people were extremely welcoming everywhere," explained Green. "This COMREL project was different from the others we have done in the past. The Turkish people were interested in showing us the depth of their hospitality rather than letting the Sailors just do physical labor."

Turkish media was in full force, covering the visit between the U.S. volunteers and residents of the house.

"I was surprised by the amount of media that were there," said Engineman Fireman Tom Wroblewski. "Our helping out really didn't seem like a big deal to me."

"Sailors at first were shocked by the amount of media present, as was I, but they quickly realized that they were involved in something a little more special, equally as important, but different from COMREL projects in the past," said Green.

The group's youngest volunteer, Cryptologic Technician Seaman Briana Trujillo, 19, presented a stack of books to the eldest member of the home.

"It was an honor to be able to present the books," said Trujillo. "I feel they were truly happy to receive the gifts that Chaplain Green prepared."

The volunteers quickly became ambassadors of their ship and the U.S. Navy.

"All the participants found themselves involved in diplomatic relations involving two world nations," explained Green. "They paved the way for future Sailors to visit and interact with the Turkish community. I'm very proud of them."

Philippine Sea is one of six vessels in the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group currently deployed in the Navy's 6th Fleet area of operations supporting MSO. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

For more news from Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/esg8/.

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