GOLFITO, Costa Rica - Navy frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) participated in a community engagement project playing soccer with local children and painting two classrooms for a local school during a port visit Oct. 28 while supporting Operation Martillo.
"It was a great opportunity to work with the Costa Rican students and teachers at the Urenas school," said Cmdr. James Pickens, USS Gary executive officer. "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.