TAMUNING, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) volunteered for a community relations (COMREL) project at Guam Memorial Hospital during the ship's goodwill port visit, Oct. 4.
COMRELs allow George Washington Sailors an opportunity to give back to local communities and to learn about the host nation's culture on a personal level.
"These projects help the people of Guam understand the Navy's role in building and strengthening partnerships, not only with the island of Guam, but throughout the Pacific region," said Lt. j.g. Cole Yoos, a chaplain aboard George Washington. "These COMRELs offer an incredible opportunity to tangibly give back to the people of Guam who have always provided a beautiful and inviting welcome for our Sailors."
Sailors were given a tour of the hospital, and assisted staff members with clearing debris and preparing the building's exterior for severe weather conditions.
"It means a lot to us for Sailors to take time out of their day to assist us at the hospital," said Gordon Mizusawa, Guam Memorial Hospital's associate administrator of operations. "Everyone was very friendly and we had a good time together. They weren't just volunteers today, they were our friends."
COMRELs were established by the Department of Defense in order to foster and further good relations with communities around the world. They help to earn public support and understanding of operations, missions, and requirements of the Military Services, and to increase understanding of U.S. defense posture and capabilities by increasing public exposure.
"It feels good to give back to the host nations," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Elman Joiner, a COMREL team leader. "I'm lucky to experience the different ports we visit, and this is a great way to show my gratitude toward the host nation for allowing us to be here."
The visit concluded with a gift exchange between George Washington Sailors and Guam Memorial Hospital staff members.
"I would like to thank every Sailor who volunteered their time to help our hospital and our island," said Mizusawa. "It's small things like this that make all the difference."
Guam Memorial Hospital was established in 1964 to provide quality patient care in a safe environment, and is currently the only civilian hospital serving the island of Guam.
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.