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USS Mesa Verde Departs Split, Croatia

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS141009-09
Release Date: 10/9/2014 1:36:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon M. Smith, USS Mesa Verde Public Affairs

SPLIT, Croatia (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) departed Split, Croatia, Oct. 9, after a scheduled port visit.

Mesa Verde's presence in Croatia reaffirms the United States' commitment to strengthening ties with foreign nations, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the region.

While in Croatia, Sailors and Marines had the opportunity to take tours hosted by the ship's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation team, which showcased some of the unique attractions of the region. Some service members went canyoning in the Cetina River, and some took a city tour of Dubrovnik, where the HBO show 'Game of Thrones' recently filmed scenes.

Hospitalman Patrick Powell took the Dubrovnik tour and said he really enjoyed the historic aspect of the city.

'My favorite thing had to have been the cathedral,' said Powell. 'I thought it was pretty cool getting to see all the history just within one building, all the different stages of the building's construction and going through various times...they said it was one century's worth of history in one building alone, that was pretty cool.'

Originally from Acton, California, Powell said he is grateful for the chance he's had to see different places.

'(Traveling) is something that was kind of a bonus on the side really; I knew I wanted to try to get career skills and a chance to get to school,' said Powell. 'I really am appreciative of what I've been offered and just getting out here and seeing all this, it's really a once in a lifetime chance to check this all out... just being able to share this and these stories with my friends and family, I think that's pretty significant because I know a lot of them won't get the same opportunities.'

This was Mesa Verde's first port visit since transiting the Suez Canal, Oct. 2, and leaving the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

'Sailors and Marines got to experience some great culture in a very relaxed atmosphere,' said Lt. Cmdr. Ethan Rule, executive officer of Mesa Verde. 'The people of Croatia were very hospitable and we got to see some beautiful countryside. The crew was very respectful and did a great job.'

Mesa Verde is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is wrapping up an almost nine-month deployment since leaving its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, Feb. 8.

During its brief time in 6th Fleet, Mesa Verde's presence, along with the Bataan Amphibious Group, will help to strengthen regional maritime partnerships with partner nations and help maintain a safe and secure maritime environment. The U.S. Navy has historically maintained a presence in 6th Fleet.

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