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USS Essex Arrives in Singapore

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100223-03
Release Date: 2/23/2010 1:59:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Greg Johnson, USS Essex Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) arrived in Singapore for a scheduled port visit Feb. 22.

During the visit, Essex Sailors will have an opportunity to experience Singaporean culture. Scheduled activities include a ship tour for local second graders and a sports day with local youth athletes.

"The crew is really looking forward to visiting Singapore," said Capt. Troy Hart, Essex's commanding officer. "It's a place we haven't been in many years, and it's nice to go to new places and learn about new cultures. Any time we have the chance to interact with the local community, it's a great opportunity for us to learn about them and for them to learn about us."

One of those intercultural opportunities will be a sports day, when Sailors from throughout the Essex Amphibious Ready Group will compete with local Singaporean youth sports teams in basketball, soccer, softball and baseball.

"It should be a great opportunity to get out there with the local teams and experience some camaraderie and make some new friends," said Lt. j.g. Andria Jones, Essex's athletic officer.

Jones said she was thrilled when she found out about the opportunity to compete with Singaporean youth athletic teams and many Essex Sailors share her enthusiasm for the event.

"It's not very often you have an opportunity to play sports against people from a different culture," said Personnel Specialist Seaman Clinton Heller, of Jonesboro, Ind. "It should be a great time, because even with the language barrier, sports can transcend everything."

Sports day will be just one of many opportunities for Essex Sailors to exchange culture with Singaporeans during the port visit. The ship is also scheduled to host a tour for third grade students of the Singapore American School. Twenty-five students and five adults will see Essex's amphibious and humanitarian capabilities firsthand, including the ship's well deck, flight deck and medical facilities.

"This will be an excellent opportunity for the kids to see Essex up close and personal," said Capt. Dave Fluker, Essex's executive officer. "Many of them may have never had the opportunity to see a Navy ship before, and we'd like to show them what our ship and our Sailors do day in and day out. I am confident that it will be an experience they'll remember for a long time."

Many Essex Sailors are also expecting an experience they'll remember for a long time, as they enjoy liberty in the world's largest city-state.

"It should be a pretty cool port," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class (SW) Brandon Rambus, who is visiting Singapore for the first time. "I hear they've got a Universal Studios here, so we're really looking forward to checking that out."

Essex, commanded by Capt. Troy Hart, is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is currently conducting spring patrol in the Western Pacific.

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