NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) departed Naples, Italy, June 14 after a three-day port visit. The ship is deployed in support of maritime support operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. This is the ship's maiden deployment.
Throughout the visit, Sailors supported the local community as a global force for good, and also enjoyed historic Italian sites through Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)-sponsored tours. The tours allowed them to see famous sites such as the Colosseum, Michelangelo's David, and the leaning tower of Pisa.
"I had never been to Italy before," said Yeoman 2nd Class (AW) Diana Melton, who visited Pompeii. "[Pompeii] was a nice town and its history was very interesting."
Sailors made memories they will never forget and the cuisine will top the list for many.
"I'll always remember the amazing pizza," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class (SW/AW) Edwin Perez. "The people were nice and the food was great."
Several Sailors dedicated liberty time to volunteer at the Missionary Sisters of Charity, a local men's shelter and soup kitchen that provides free meals and housing. Approximately 20 volunteers prepared food in the morning, while 20 more served food and helped clean up in the evening. Additionally, nearly 50 Sailors spent five hours clearing an overgrown soccer field at Centro Laila, a shelter for the homeless and their children.
When community service opportunities were announced, Sailors were eager to help. All slots were filled within an hour, and so many Sailors offered to help that waiting lists had to be made.
"Everyone worked hard," said Yeoman 1st Class (AW) Ivy Cyphers. "We helped clean, wash dishes, and put together beds to prepare the Missionary Sisters of Charity for the afternoon. Afterward they were so grateful and gave each one of us a booklet signed by Mother Teresa and a Patron Saint Medallion blessed by one of the nuns."
Guests who attended a June 11 reception spent two hours conversing with members of the crew and touring the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.
"This was a great opportunity to see the Bush on her maiden deployment," said Col. John Migyanko from Joint Force Command Naples. "This ceremony really highlights the Italian-NATO partnership."
In addition to Naples, George H.W. Bush has visited Portsmouth, England, and Cartagena, Spain, since entering the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility May 17. George H.W. Bush left its homeport of Norfolk, Va., May 11.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.