LUMUT, Malaysia (NNS) -- USS Curts (FFG 38) departed Lumut, Malaysia April 22 following a scheduled five-day port visit, where the crew experienced the unique culture of the Malaysian community, helped repair a special-needs school and interacted with local residents.
About 25 Curts crew members aided in the preservation of Sekolah Semangat Maju Sitiawan School. The school caters to students from age 3 to 34, teaching life skills and independent living.
School officials estimated that it has been more than 10 years since its last community relations project with the U.S. military and the aid provided by the Curts was graciously accepted, said Cmdr. Yvette Davids, Curts' commanding officer.
"Being able to come together with the community in such a way as this (community relations project) helped set the tone of the ship's port call and those to come," Davids said. "This was an important port visit for Curts because it provided not only the chance to work together with the community, but it also provided an excellent opportunity to interact with the Royal Malaysian Navy."
During its time in Lumut, Curts hosted a reception for the Royal Malaysian Navy and were honored with the attendance of First Admiral Abd Rahman Abd Karim, Chief of Staff HQ Fleet Operations of the Royal Malaysian Navy.
Curts crew members, including Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Chad Doud, appreciated the interaction with the Malay sailors as well.
"It is amazing that two different cultures can work together for one common goal. Being able to interact with navy personnel from other nations is a great experience," Doud said.
The reception was preceded by friendly matches of soccer and volleyball in which the crew of Curts faced off against the crews of several Malay ships.
These sporting events kicked off a series of small naval exercises, which were designed to help build the cohesiveness of the Malaysian and the U.S. Navy. The two navies conducted extensive training while in port and underway, ranging from shipboard firefighting to ship boarding exercises and tactical maneuvering.
Also during this time there was an exchange of both officer and enlisted personnel between the U.S. and Malay ships. This opportunity gave these Sailors the chance to experience the customs and culture of a foreign ship while underway.
The Curts, homeported in San Diego, is currently underway as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group's deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility to support maritime security operations.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.