ZHANJIANG, China- Fourteen Sailors aboard Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) visited the Zhanjiang Special Education School during the ship’s port visit to Zhanjiang, China, June 15.
Sterett is part of the Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group (Sterett-Dewey SAG) and arrived in Zhanjiang with the embarked command staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31 and an embarked helicopter detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49, June 12.
The Sailors joined People’s Liberation Army (Navy) (PLAN) sailors in the trip to the school to spend time with students who are unable to hear. The visit commenced with a tour through an art gallery featuring the students’ work.
Following the tour, Sailors joined the students in multiple classrooms to create art projects side-by-side. With pen and ink, modeling clay, and paint, the Sailors created their own works of art with the assistance of both students and faculty.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Tavarius Thornton, a Dallas native assigned to DESRON 31, said the experience was unlike any community outreach project he had undertaken.
“It was unbelievable. The amazing things these kids can do with painting and clay – the creativity is simply amazing, and I enjoyed my time here,” Thornton said. “A couple of the students helped me do some painting, and they taught me how to do some of these crafts. These kids are truly talented, and you wouldn’t think the quality of this work comes from a school.”
Lt. Kevin Wilkinson, DESRON 31 chaplain, praised the visit as “one of the best” he’s ever been on.
“It was so very special.. The people here are warm and very hospitable, and just being able to be here with the community, to share and experience it, was a great opportunity for the Sailors,” Wilkinson said. “Everyone I talked to said they enjoyed the experience.”
The Sterett-Dewey SAG is operating 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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For more information for the USS Sterett, please visit: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg104/Pages/default.aspx
For more information for the USS Dewey, please visit: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg105/Pages/default.aspx