TALCAHUANO, Chile (NNS) -- Guided-missile frigates USS Boone (FFG 28) and USS Thach (FFG 43) arrived in Talcahuano, Chile, during their six-month deployment in support of Southern Seas 2011, June 10.
While in Talcahuano, Boone and Thach Sailors will work closely with Chilean naval partners and local residents to promote military and cultural bonds.
U.S. and Chilean sailors will deliver Project Handclasp materials from the U.S. State Department to Valdivia, Chile residents displaced by the Puyehue Volcano eruption, June 4.
Project Handclasp is an official Navy program that accepts and transports educational, humanitarian and goodwill materials overseas on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to those effected by the volcanic eruptions," said Cmdr. Roy Love, Boone's commanding officer. "Our participation and aide is an example of how the partnerships we create extend beyond naval exercises."
More than 30 Sailors will also volunteer at Public School Talcahuano, June 13. The community relations project will involve painting and grounds maintenance for the school.
"Volunteering and donating are great ways for us to reach out and show that we care about what's going on," said Ensign David Lovejoy, Thach's community relations coordinator. "It is always great to meet the local community. To have the opportunity to do so with local sailors is an opportunity to learn about Chilean navy interaction with their communities, and to become a part of that connection."
While in port, CNS Cochrane (FF 05) and CNS Araucano (AO 53) will serve as hosts to Boone and Thach respectfully. The officers and crews will participate in ship tours and protocol visits.
"The more time we spend with partners, the more we realize our goals are alike," said Lt.j.g. Manny Brown of Boone. "This realization goes a long way in enhancing military readiness and the effectiveness of multinational responses."
U.S Sailors will complete several events with incoming Chilean recruits called grumetes. More than 200 grumetes will tour Thach and Boone, introducing them to the partnership and capabilities of the U.S. Navy.
U.S. Sailors will visit the Grumete School, the initial Chilean junior enlisted school, June 14. The Sailors will tour the school, followed by several sporting events and dinner with the grumetes. The partnering will reinforce friendships created by Boone and Thach senior enlisted on a previous ten-day visit to the school, May 30.
"Building relationships with Chilean navy officers, enlisted leadership and their future sailors is vitally important to continue to build stronger ties between our navies," said Command Senior Chief (CSC) (SW) Josh Gabriel of Thach.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. FOURTH Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
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