MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) departed the port of Manama after completing a six-day port visit here July 23.
This was Gonzalez' first visit to Bahrain since beginning its six-month deployment March 25 from Norfolk, Va., in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) as part of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Expeditionary Strike Group.
While in port Bahrain, the crew enjoyed a number of tours set up by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, including the Dolphin Park, Al Bander Resort BBQ and a ladies day spa. The crew also enjoyed the luxuries of the many five-star hotels in the area.
"I really enjoyed the barbecue at the hotel. I was able to relax in the pool and have a great meal," said Chief Electrician's Mate Dennis Rosenow.
Another highlight for the crew was spending their tax-free money at the four large malls in Bahrain, as well as the gold souq.
"There was a huge selection of gold and precious stones here. I really enjoyed my time here", said Lt. j.g. Kari Schwab, the ship's electrical officer.
One of the benefits of Bahrain is the naval base, where a large portion of the crew spent the sweltering days and nights while in Bahrain. The base offers a "ship's store" where the crew could buy daily essentials and various electronics. The base also offers a gym and a multi-use recreational facility, "the Desert Dome," which offers a number of fast food restaurants and turns into a bar at night for the crew to enjoy while dancing at an outdoor dance floor.
"The Desert Dome was a lot of fun. Despite the heat, we all enjoyed dancing outside to all the great music," said Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Kelly Stichelblanco.
The ship will remain forward deployed for the next 18 months. Its crew will return home to the United States in September when relieved by another crew as part of the Navy's sea swap program.
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
For related news, visit the USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/ddg66/.