CHALAN KANOA, Saipan – Sailors from the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) and Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) worked together during a community service project to clear debris from the grounds of William S. Reyes Elementary School Aug. 14 after Typhoon Soudelor.
Service members were called upon to remove fallen trees and brush from the school grounds, break down collapsed roofs and clear the yards in preparation for the new school year.
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Linnie Crudup from Jacksonville, Fla. said that working with the Marines was a great experience.
“We cleaned up a lot of branches and trees that were turned over, in addition to the roofs that came off,” Crudup said. “It felt great to have the Marines onboard with us as our brothers in arms, being out here working hand-in-hand with them.”
Marji Tarope, the Vice Principal of William S. Reyes Elementary School for 15 years, said that having the help she needed from the military was a relief before the opening of the school.
“Having to clear the debris and the field for the kids was going to be a huge task,” Tarope said. “To know that everything will be ready for them when they get back makes me very happy. It really means a lot to us to have that support.”
Ashland and its embarked Marines from the 31st MEU are part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and are on patrol in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations.