Vinson Sailors 'Kick It' With Kids in Singapore


Story Number: NNS030710-09Release Date: 7/10/2003 8:36:00 PM
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By Seaman Curtis Longo, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE (NNS) -- While making a recent five-day visit to the Republic of Singapore, Sailors from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 took time from touring the island nation of Singapore to spend a day at the Jamiyah Children's Home.

The visit was organized by the ship's Chaplain Department and connected Sailors with Jamiyah children ranging from ages 5-18.

The Muslim-based orphanage was established in 1993 and currently houses almost 80 children.

The day began with a tour of the orphanage followed by some free time that gave Sailors and children a chance to get acquainted.

"It was marvelous being able to interact with the kids," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Vernon Jones. "They were very nice, courteous, and there were a lot of friendships that were made."

Those friendships only got stronger as the Sailors and children worked up their appetites, teaming up for a game of soccer.

"I think playing soccer with the kids was great, and as long as they got something out of it, then I did as well," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Kevin Whitehead. "I think this is something the older kids will always remember."

With the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group on an extended deployment, the visit served as an opportunity to get away from the ship and relax. Some of these "Gold Eagle" warriors even found the visit to be therapeutic.

"Sometimes things about the ship will get to you, but the kids help you lighten up your load," said Airman Apprentice Randy Hansen.

Others found it to be an opportunity to represent Carl Vinson and America's culture. A moment the children seemed to particularly enjoy was looking on as Sailors belted out tunes on guitar and piano.

Chaplain (Lt.) Robin Heckathorne felt the visit to Jamiyah "helped to dissolve some barriers that may exist between the Muslim youth and the western culture."

Following lunch, the new friends exchanged e-mail addresses and warm good-byes. Sailors departed knowing they had done something positive for the local community, the ship and themselves.

"I thought the ComRel [community relations] was real nice and a very good experience," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW/FMF) Etinnie Burnett. "I love doing ComRels, and I would gladly do them again."

"It seemed very important to them that we came out," said Chief Machinery Repairman (SW) James Klarenbach. "They had a chance to interact with U.S. Navy personnel and all of the culture we brought with us."

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed in the western Pacific as part of America's standing commitment to maintain peace, stability, and theater security cooperation in coordination with allies and friends in the region.

For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70.

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