HONG KONG – More than 30 Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group (Sterett-Dewey SAG) Sailors conducted two community service events during the ship’s scheduled port visit to Hong Kong, May 1-2.
The command staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), along with an embarked helicopter detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, arrived in Hong Kong, April 29.
Sailors visited the Fu Hong Society Wo Che Adult Training Center, a hostel for developmentally disabled adults, May 1. The Sailors served as the residents’ chaperones for a field trip to a nearby park and joined the residents in playing a group game.
Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class Sulficio Anza, a San Diego native assigned to Sterett, said the event was different but rewarding.
“I try and do at least one [community service project] every port visit, but this one was different than the rest,” Anza said. “You really had to pay attention to the people and make sure they were okay. To see how happy they were during the [visit] was really good, and I’m glad I went.”
Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Carolyn Felix-White, a Houston native assigned to HSM 49, said her personal history compelled her to visit the center.
“I have an aunt who is developmentally disabled, so it was near and dear to my heart to be able to give back to that community,” Felix-White explained.
The Sailors visited the Cheerland Nursery School and Kindergarten at Kowloon Bay the following day, where they played games, read stories, and created handcrafts with the students.
Felix-White also attended the Cheerland event and said she was grateful to experience the diverse culture of Hong Kong.
“There’s more to these places than going out and sightseeing,” she said. “It’s important to take advantage of what a community has to offer and to give back to that community.”
Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Phillip Banks, a Chicago native assigned to DESRON 31, revealed a decade-long affinity for working with youth.
“Ever since my own kids were babies 12 years ago, I’ve loved working with kids,” Banks said. “I think about how the young kids are going to grow up and remember our visit. It has the potential to improve international relations. When these kids get older, they’ll remember the American Sailors who came out to visit them at school. They can share that experience with their friends, and it just goes from there.”
The Sterett-Dewey SAG will operate with regional naval services to conduct routine patrols, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation activities to enhance regional security and stability in the Western Pacific.
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.
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