USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- A few members from the Richmond Council of the Navy League got underway with USS Nassau (LHA 4) from March 19 through 23, to experience the life of a "Top Gator" Sailor out at sea.
The Richmond Council adopted Nassau in September. Their main goal is to help military personnel and their families in the time of need and to improve the quality of life for active military members and their families.
Tom Hassell, senior vice president of the Richmond Council Navy League, Ed Gibbons, former president, and Dave Vachet, the liaison and vice president of Youth Services, enjoyed spending time with the Nassau crew.
"I'm impressed on how intelligent the Sailors are on board, they seem interested in doing a good job. Everyone has been so polite in showing us around the ship," said Hassell.
Vachet also enjoyed meeting Nassau Sailors. "We sat down at chow today with some of the Sailors and they were so nice, they actually invited us to tour their work spaces," he said.
The Richmond Council's web site lists their objectives as "To serve as a means of educating and informing the American people with regard to the role of Sea Power in the nuclear age and the problems involved in maintaining strong defenses in that age. To improve the understanding and appreciation of those who wear the uniforms of our Armed Forces and to better the conditions under which they live and serve."
With help from the approximately 700 Navy League's members, money is raised to sponsor a group of ships adopted by the League. Along with Nassau the Richmond Council Navy League has adopted USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), USS Normandy (CG 60) and USCG Northland (WMEC 904).
The Richmond Council Navy League donated two new 42-inch plasma televisions to junior Sailors' male and female living spaces. In addition, they also donated $300 for Nassau's deployment in support of Exercise Phoenix Express 2007. The money will support a program called "Super Top Gator of the Day," which will recognize two Nassau Sailors each day and award them $5 to be used at the ship's store.
"Everything we collect we give away. We have sponsors, we contact companies, and we have a Siegel Center concession and popcorn stand during the Virginia Commonwealth University basketball games," said Hassell. "When we started talking with Command Master Chief Rick Makowski, knowing that he has a position of understanding what benefits the crew, he triggered the idea to donate televisions."
"The donations from the Navy League are a nice reminder that there are others back home who support us," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class (AW) Glynn Koepke. "The gentlemen had a genuine interest in our efforts and capabilities. We got along great and enjoyed sharing stories with one another. It was a pleasure to have the gentlemen from the Navy League onboard and we look forward to their next visit."
Nassau is currently deployed to Commander, 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR). Nassau is participating in the multi-national exercise Phoenix Express 2007.
Phoenix Express 2007 includes participants from Algeria, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States.
The multi-national exercise is focused on developing the individual and collective maritime proficiencies of participating nations. The exercise promotes friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation with regional partners.
For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lha4/.