USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday 
By Cryptologic Technician 3rd Class Ryan Harris 
Sailors from the USS MICHAEL MURPHY (DDG 112) celebrated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Jan. 21 by dedicating a day of community service to the civil rights leader.

Rather than taking the holiday off, the Sailors participated in their first community relations project since the newly-commissioned warship arrived at its Pearl Harbor homeport on Nov. 21.

“Dr. King fought for equality so if we can come together from all different races and all different backgrounds on our day off and work together then that is an appropriate way to honor him and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day,” said Operations Specialist 1st Class Riunite Izquierdo, the Command Community Service Coordinator for MICHAEL MURPHY.

The MICHAEL MURPHY crew focused their day of community service on Hawaiian beach restoration.

Sailors waded into the shallow waters of Paiko Beach and collected heavy bags of slimy invasive algae that are smothering out the natural species of the southern Oahu bay. The algae cleanup was sponsored by the nonprofit organizations Kupu Hawaii and Malama Maunalua.

The nonprofits are responsible for cleaning over three million pounds of the alien algae from 25 acres of Hawaiian waters over the past five years. The invasive plant – which is also known as leather mudweed – is shuttled to shore and recycled as fertilizer by area farmers.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been a focal point of the project, and this year was the largest turnout since the project began.

“This is about honoring the legacy of community service of Dr. King and it’s really exciting to reach out to military organizations like the MICHAEL MURPHY,” said Rebecca Beralas, program outreach coordinator for Kupu Hawaii. “It’s awesome for this to be the ship’s first community outreach event in Hawaii so we can welcome them here and share the aloha spirit.”

The Sailors said they enjoyed the MLK Day event and were honored to help their new Hawaiian home.

“It feels good to be able to do something to give back,” said Engineman 3rd Class Kristian Billings. “This is a very rewarding way to spend the day.”
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