By ENS Terence H. Bennett, USS Paul Hamilton Public Affairs
USS PAUL HAMILTON at Sea
- On a rainy December morning USS PAUL HAMILTON, an Arleigh Burke class Destroyer, maneuvered heavy shipping traffic on its way to Changi Naval Base, Singapore. On her way in she steamed past hundreds of merchant ships swinging at anchor. With the skyline just starting to take view, PAUL HAMILTON left the channel to moor alongside ships of the Republic of Singapore Navy.
Although a state-of-the-art warship designed to fight, PAUL HAMILTON was not protecting the seas when she arrived in Singapore last week. Instead, PAUL HAMILTON provided community service to the people of Singapore. As part of the time-honored tradition of ‘port calls’, the Sailors of PAUL HAMILTON volunteered for two days of community service at Boys’ Town, a Catholic charitable institution and the Harvester Baptist Church, a local Singaporean church.
At Boy’s Town, a youth home run by the Brothers of St. Gabriel, eighteen Sailors joined the children in games of teamwork and sportsmanship. “We had a lot of fun playing with the boys”, said Chief Ryan Anderson, a Chief Boatswain’s Mate (SW) on PAUL HAMILTON. “I am glad we had the chance to spend some time to get to know them.” The institute serves an important role in Singapore providing guidance, shelter, education, vocational training and practical living skills to youths. The event culminated with a big dinner and a chance for Sailors and the boys to sit and talk.
At the Harvester Baptist Church, church members shared how their Christian faith related to their community’s deep cultural ties to Buddhism, Taoism and ancestor worship. The Sailors toured both Chinese and Hindu Temples, providing them further opportunity to explore and understand the culture and religion of Singapore. “As visiting Sailors it gave us an introduction on how they identify with both their religions and Christianity”, Chief Electrician’s Mate (SW) Marcial Donato commented afterward.
Although only a few days in length, port calls serve as an opportunity for all Sailors to see and experience other cultures and countries. The fine Sailors of USS PAUL HAMILTON are carrying on this tradition as they engage Singaporeans where they live.