SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Continuing their ongoing mission in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit departed Singapore, Aug. 4, after a six day port visit.
The port visit represented the first stop for Boxer after its departure from the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations last month.
While in port, Boxer's crew participated in sporting events and Morale, Welfare and Recreation tours, and conducted ship familiarization tours aboard Boxer for hundreds of people from local civic organizations. The Religious Ministries Department also arranged several cultural exchange projects throughout the Singapore community.
"This was a great opportunity to visit a culturally-rich country and enhance the relationship between our two navies," said Capt. Mike Ruth, Boxer's commanding officer. "Boxer Sailors and Marines really enjoyed the visit and represented the United States admirably. They stayed busy participating in military-to-military exchanges, cultural exchange projects and outstanding MWR tours. As we head back to sea, the crew is prepared to conduct operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific region and participate in theater security cooperation engagements to strengthen ties and improve interoperability with allies and partners in the U.S. 7th Fleet."
Boxer Sailors and Marines were able to volunteer while in-port by participating in community exchange projects that included interacting with children at the Genesis School for Special Education, and serving meals to senior citizens at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen.
"I enjoy doing any type of volunteer work because it allows us to get out into the community" said Marine Capt. Kimberley Julka. "It's a great way to see the community, to see the world, differences in culture, and differences in language."
"I am into volunteering," said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Max Delpivo. "I have never worked with special needs children so it was new for me. It was interesting to see how the staff interacts with children and gets them engaged. I would have never figured that out on my own."
At another community service event, Sailors and Marines provided meal preparation and service at a soup kitchen. Many of those who participated in the event said that they had taken part in something both important and special; an event not only valuable to them but to the mission of the Boxer as well.
"It was important to me personally because I am the type of person who grew up not really having a whole lot, and I think being able to give back puts my heart at peace," said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Markel Carter. "I think it's important for the mission of the Navy because people have their own perceptions of what the military is about, so hopefully our efforts show that we are just out here trying to do right by the people we are trying to protect. It gives a better perspective of the military and Boxer."
Others spoke of how the cultural exchange offered fellowship for the crewmembers and allowed them to make Singaporean friends.
"We didn't think of it as just work, because we were there with friends and got to meet new friends and got to experience things we may not have otherwise," said Religious Program Specialist Seaman Tyriq Turner.
Boxer, the flagship of Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, with the embarked 13th MEU, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
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