USS Gary Sailors at Urena School in Golfito 
GOLFITO, Costa Rica - BM3 Heath Gregory, CMDCM Keith Webb, ENS Gopal Mahadevan, LS3 Dean Heitkamp, HSN Samuel Miller, STG3 Jonathan Houston, ITSN Harry Scott, CDR James Brown, CDR James Pickens, LT Pedro Vargasdiaz, LS2 Soeun Chea, OS2 Edward Villegas(far right) at Urena School in Golfito (Photo by ETSN Justin R. Davis).
USS Gary Participates in Community Relations in Golfito, Costa Rica playing Soccer and Painting a Local School 
GOLFITO, Costa Rica - USS GARY became the first U.S Navy ship to make a liberty port visit to the tiny fishing village of Golfito since 2010. The ship’s crew was excited about this unique port visit to Golfito, Costa Rica after three weeks of being underway. Despite a lot of rainfall, crew members of the GARY participated in a Community Relations (COMREL) project playing soccer with local children and painting two classrooms for their local Urena School house.

CDR Pickens, Executive Officer of USS GARY, said of the COMREL; “It was a great opportunity to work with the Costa Rican students and teachers at the Urena School. Our sailors enjoyed playing soccer with the students and believe the work we did will be beneficial for years to come. We hope the students had fun and enjoyed the experience.”

Gary is deployed to Central and South America and the Caribbean in support of Operation Martillo and U.S. Fourth Fleet’s mission, Southern Seas 2012.

Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”) is a U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, a component of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

Operation Martillo is part of the U.S. government’s coordinated regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transitional organized crime and the U.S. Central America Security Initiative.

Fourteen countries are participating: Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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