MANAMA, Bahrain- The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and embarked units from Commander, Amphibious Squadron One and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) concluded a four-day port visit to Bahrain, June 11.
During their stay, Sailors and Marines experienced the local culture, attended Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sponsored tours, volunteered for community relations projects and took advantage of the services available aboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain.
"It was nice to relax and unwind after 75 consecutive days at sea," said Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Vuong Ngo. "Being able to access some Wi-Fi on base and to see my wife through Facetime [video chat] was amazing and refreshing.”
Country musician Trace Adkins entertained Sailors and Marines, June 7, during a USO-sponsored concert held aboard NSA Bahrain.
“The Trace Adkins concert was actually great, especially on the first day,” said Ngo. “It kept the entire ship together in one spot to unwind and have a great time. I am not a huge country fan, but they played great music.”
Sailors and Marines also participated in tours coordinated by Mr. Brian Rockenbach, Boxer's MWR Afloat Recreation Specialist. These included kayak and stand-up paddle boarding, cultural tours of local mosques and indoor sky diving.
"When Sailors come to port, they want to go out and see what each port has to offer, so I am simply connecting them with these recreational opportunities," said Rockenbach. "The purpose of the tours is also to give the crew a very enriching experience in port.”
Boxer crewmembers were able to give back to the local community by participating in community relations projects at the Regional Institute for Active Learning (RIA). “We were with little kids, ages two to four, and we played with them, got to know them, sang with them and danced with them,” said Personnel Specialist Seaman Markel Carter. “I got to know the teachers and what they do on a daily basis. I wanted to volunteer and do something bigger than myself, to give back and play my part.”
Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.