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Bataan Sailors, Marines Complete Successful Visit to Naples, Italy

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS141014-14
Release Date: 10/14/2014 3:40:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Fiorillo, USS Bataan Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) departed Naples, Italy, Oct. 14, following a scheduled port visit.

This port visit served to continue U.S. 6th Fleet efforts to build global maritime partnerships with European nations and improve maritime safety and security. Bataan conducted this port visit as part of a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th fleet area of operations.

Bataan served as the platform for a reception hosted by Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, for local Naples distinguished guests and U.S. Embassy officials, Oct. 11. The event provided Ferguson an opportunity to express his gratitude for Italian support of the U.S. Navy.

'The Bataan, her Sailors and her embarked Marines represent the best and brightest of America,' said Adm. Ferguson. 'Her visit to this historic city is indicative of how much the United States deeply values our long-standing relationship with Naples, the Campania Region and Italy.'

While in Naples, Sailors and Marines participated in two community relations (COMREL) projects. COMRELs enable Sailors and Marines to give back even while deployed. At Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, a children's home and pre-school, Sailors and Marines repaired and beautified the playground and interacted with the school children. Sailors and Marines also helped distribute food at Sisters of Charity Soup Kitchen to people who visited for a daily meal.

'Our Sailors and Marines could have spent their time in Naples shopping, sightseeing, or anywhere else,' said Chaplin Lt. Hardy Owens. 'But they chose to serve the community in Naples. After almost a nine-month deployment and five COMRELs it is always gratifying to serve the host country.'

Sailors and Marines also had a chance to explore the sites in Italy through Morale, Welfare, Recreation (MWR) tours to Rome, Pompeii, Capri, and a tour of a Campania vineyard.

'It was fun, exciting and full of history and I would like to return,' said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Raul Bautisa. 'My favorite tour was Pompeii. We had great food, saw amazing historic landmarks and had a chance to climb to the top of Mount Vesuvius for an amazing view.'

Bataan and her crew have been deployed since Feb. 8. During its brief time in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility, the Bataan's presence will help to strengthen regional maritime partnerships with partner nations and help maintain a safe and secure maritime environment.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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