Truman Bids "Au Revoir" To Marseille

Story Number: NNS130811-01Release Date: 8/11/2013 1:39:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dion Dawson, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) -- Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) departed Marseille, France, Aug. 9 after successfully completing its scheduled port visit.

"The trip was fantastic," said Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Donald Novak, Harry S. Truman's command master chief. "It was great to see everyone returning to the ship excited about everything they did. The Sailors are still talking about it. Overall, the Sailors did a great job with the mission of overseas liberty."

Novak extended gratitude to the host country and hoped to visit again.

"We want to thank the great city of Marseille, and we look forward to future port visits to this beautiful city," he said.

While in Marseille, Sailors participated in various city tours, community outreach projects and more events.

"I think we had a tremendous port visit in Marseille, and I believe community outreach projects were a big part of that," said Lt. Richard Smothers, command chaplain of Carrier Air Wing 3. "The spirit of volunteerism around the ship is appreciated. It is so motivating when I see how many people want to give back and participate in community outreach programs. It makes me feel proud to know the team we have here can see the big picture."

Smothers said he had a great time and pointed to a particular community outreach for the root of his happiness.

"On Aug. 8, we had the opportunity to go to La Crysalide Centre, which is a center for physically and mentally handicapped residents in Marseille," said Smothers. "There were over 100 residents and staff who attended. Our gospel choir provided a concert for them and fellowshipped with everyone. We were able to share gifts with one another. The big gift was being able to bless the people of Marseille. We really appreciated it, and they were a most gracious host."

Smothers said being in another country for the first time could cause a bit of a culture shock, but the transition for everyone was seamless.

"We had the great opportunity to meet new people in a lot of different ways and have amazing cross-cultural learning experiences," Smothers said. "I think it was a total win for Team Truman and Team Battle Axe."

While some Sailors and Marines participated in community outreach, others attended tours arranged by Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division.

"For those who participated with the tours, I saw them having a good time and relaxing," said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Paul Reading, MWR Division leading petty officer. "France was great because the people who've never been there experience it, and you have people who've been there before go to their favorite restaurants or even travel to Paris."

Reading said he went on the French Riviera tour and appreciated it even more, considering how fast everything came together.

"I don't think everyone understands how fast we had to put the MWR events together for this port," said Reading. "We had less than two weeks to plan and implement our strategy for Marseille. With the limited time we had to get everything done, I think everything went great."

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) Airman (SW) Rashaad Porter, a member of Air Department's V-4 quality assurance work center, participated in a sporting event with the locals, playing American football.

"It was nice to put smiles on their faces and enjoy each other's company," said Porter. "I feel like everything was worth it. I will always remember how amazing this port visit was. I would go back in a heartbeat."

While in the Mediterranean Sea, HST CSG will be supporting maritime security operations (MSO) and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility. MSO are set conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations.

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