|USS Sterett (Image: Wiki Commons)|
by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder, Navy Public Affairs Support Element
BRISBANE, Australia – Sailors aboard Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) concluded a six-day port visit to Brisbane, Australia, July 28.
During the port visit, crew members participated in three community outreach events.
More than a dozen Sailors first visited the Burringilly Respite facility, which provides outpatient care for infirmed Aboriginal citizens in the area. The Sailors used their maintenance skills to tear down fences and clear various parts of the property, laying down fresh beds of mulch and clearing walkways. Following the work, the Sailors were treated to a barbecue and didgeridoo music. The event concluded by interacting with native Australian wildlife, including tree frogs, carpet and olive pythons, and juvenile crocodiles.
The following day, another dozen Sailors loaned their skills to the Queensland Maritime Museum, which houses the world’s last River-class frigate, HMAS Diamantina. The Sailors broke off into two teams, with one boarding the tugboat HMAS Forceful to conduct line handling, and the other half loading items from the museum and transporting them to a nearby storage facility on the museum grounds. A barbecue and tour of the 72-year-old Diamantina brought the day to a memorable conclusion.
Finally, 10 Sailors visited residents of the Blue Care Nursing Home. The Sailors toured the facility and met with residents in common rooms. The activities included spirited card games, indoor bowling, morning tea, and a luncheon. Topics of discussion ranged from individual family life to stories of prior military service.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Charles Hammond, from Kansas City, Missouri, praised the wide variety of opportunities the Brisbane port visit offered.
“There was something for everyone, and the strong interest we had in these events reflected that. If you’re comfortable sitting down and talking to people, we had that. If you just wanted to do some heavy lifting to help people out, we had that covered too,” Hammond said.
Fire Controlman 1st Class Michel Lavanture, from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, said that volunteering allowed him to see Brisbane from a new perspective.
“There’s only so much you can see in a new port on your own, in the area where the liberty bus drops you off. Doing these outreach events really gets you into the community where you can have conversations with people you wouldn’t meet otherwise,” he said. “This is a lot of people’s first time to Australia, and it’s important to take advantage of all it has to offer.”
Sterett is conducting an independent deployment after completing participation in the Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group and most recently participation in Talisman Saber 17. Over the course of the deployment, Sterett has conducted joint exercises with naval services from Japan, France, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Thailand, as well as maritime maneuvers with China. Sterett additionally welcomed such distinguished visitors at Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John M. Richardson; Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Scott Swift; members of the House Armed Services Committee, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy, constantly coordinating with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the Pacific theater of operations.