- Sailors and Marines from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) visited Salalah, Oman, during a port visit which concluded Nov. 6.
Capt. John Gumbleton, commanding officer of Boxer, said the visit was a well-deserved break for Sailors and Marines, and it was the first time they visited Oman.
For some Sailors the sandy beaches, desert and mountainous region was reminiscent of home.
“I’m from the Mojave Desert in California, so the sandy landscape and rugged mountains reminded me of home,” said Fire Controlman 1st Class Amy Barnes. “Except for the beach front property - we don’t have that in the desert.”
While in Salalah, Sailors and Marines had a chance to explore the city and to experience the rich history and culture of Oman during tours to historic locations.
“I would have never thought that I would get the chance to ride a camel in the Middle East or have the guts to try camel milk,” said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Giancarlo Coca. “But, they will make cool stories to tell my friends and family back home.”
During the port visit, Boxer Sailors also showed their gratitude by hosting a group of Omani Air Force officers who toured the flight deck and viewed the aircraft assigned to the ship including the AV-8B Harrier II, MH-60 Seahawk, CH-53 Sea Stallion and MV-22 Osprey.
“The locals were really friendly,” said Cpl. Nikolai Dygowski, assigned to the 13th MEU. “I met one guy who asked if he could practice his English with me. We talked for a bit and he taught me how to say a few words in Arabic.”
Boxer left its homeport of San Diego, Aug. 23, for a scheduled deployment. Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th MEU, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.