USS Ford
Decommissioned October 31, 2014
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VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (July 2, 2011) Damage Controlman 3rd Class Robert Hale from Sandpoint, Id. plays with a child at the Regional Children’s Cancer Ward during a community service (COMSERV) project. Ford is currently in Vladivostok for a port visit engaging with the Russian navy, experiencing the local culture and conducting COMSERV projects. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow/Released)
Ford Sailors Bring Toys, Smiles to Russian Children
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia – Approximately 15 Sailors assigned to USS Ford (FFG 54) spent time with children at the Regional Children’s Cancer Ward in Vladivostok, Russia July 2.

Sailors brought donated modeling clay (play dough), toys, and paints, for the children. Together they painted and drew pictures, took pictures, played games and answered questions each other had with assistance of local interpreters.

While some of the children were unable to go into the play areas, Sailors went to them, sitting with the children on their bed, playing games and talking with them and their families.

Before the Sailors left, the children presented the Sailors with the paintings, decorations and drawings they made during the visit.

Administrators said they were happy the Sailors visit, which constitutes an ongoing positive relationship between the U.S. Navy and the facility. In 2010, Sailors assigned to the 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) visited the children and the administrators said everyone enjoyed the experience.

“Today they brought so much joy to the hearts of the children and to their families, we are very, very happy that Sailors from the USS Ford took time out of their day to visit,” said Svetlana Dernashova, a spokesman from the public affairs department at the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok. “While I am sure it meant a lot to them, it meant so much for the children. I saw nothing but smiles on their faces today and the Sailors interaction with the children brought tears to eyes of some the parents that were there. We cannot thank the Sailors enough.”

Sailors said they enjoyed their time with the children and that being in Russia made the experience even more special.

“When it was time to leave I don’t think any of us really wanted to leave the children, one of them even gave me the decoration he worked on; I was very surprised by that. This is definitely one of the best service projects I have been apart of,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Jeff Orcino of Redding, Calif. “Since we arrived here today in Vladivostok it has been great. I hope in my Navy career that I have the chance to come back here.”

“Today was a lot of fun. The kids are very creative and were so full of spirit,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class (SW) Joshua Borel, from Tyler, Texas. “They were really excited to see us; you could see it in their eyes. I am glad we were able to come to the center and spend time with the children. I would definitely love to come back here and volunteer again.”

During Ford’s port visit to the Russian coastal city, Sailors will engage with the Russian navy, participate in sporting events, give ship tours and conduct community service projects.

Ford, an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 9. Since the departure from its homeport of Everett Wash. in May, Ford has visited Hawaii, Guam, Japan and Malaysia.
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