SOUTH CHINA SEA - Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) volunteered at various community relations (COMREL) projects during a three-day port visit to the Republic of Singapore.
While in port, 41 Sailors participated in four COMREL events to promote goodwill between the U.S. and their Singaporean hosts.
"Volunteering while we're in port gives Sailors a chance to see a different side of the Singaporean culture and fosters relations between the United States and Singapore," said Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Russell Trimp, community relations coordinator for commander, Logistics Group, Western Pacific.
While interacting with locals, Sailors also assisted with landscaping, cleaning and maintenance projects for a variety of Singapore-based organizations including the Children's Society Sunbeam Place, a shelter for children who come from disadvantaged families.
"It's always nice to see the excitement on the kids' faces," said Chief Electrician's Mate Olalekan Oyawale, from Indianapolis. "You could tell they didn't want us to leave."
Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Charity Winiarski from Castaic, Calif. was one of the Sailors who visited the Catholic AIDS Response Effort (CARE), an organization that runs a shelter for homeless people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
"I really like to help people out whenever I'm given the chance," said Winiarski, "even if we help make other people's lives better for a short amount of time, it's worth it."
The visit served as the highlight of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group's (JCSCSG) return to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) after spending more than five months operating with and supporting U.S. Naval Force Central Command.
The JCSCSG, consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21 and Mobile Bay, is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR conducting maritime security operations.