SAN PEDRO, Calif. (NNS) -- San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) arrived in Los Angeles for L.A. Navy Days on a scheduled port visit Aug. 5.
More than 500 Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to interact Los Angeles community by volunteering their time and efforts for community relations (COMREL) projects and attending a wide variety of events including a Dodgers baseball game, various tours, yacht sailing, and visits to local community locations offered by L.A. Navy League.
"Navy Days L.A. is a tremendous opportunity for the U.S. Navy to show the people of Los Angeles the character of their Sailors and the capabilities and quality of their ships," said Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Joel Stewart. "The crew of USS Anchorage is very proud to have been chosen as one of the ships to represent Third Fleet and the U.S. Navy in the city of Los Angeles. The positive interaction between the city and our Navy-Marine Corps team will promote understanding of the sea services and the sacrifices Sailors and Marines make in support of our nation's maritime strategy and national defense. The crew is looking forward to exploring this great city, interacting with the community through community relation projects, and opening their ship for the public to tour."
While in Los Angeles, the Navy League partnered with the Anchorage to organize five COMREL events that approximately 90 Sailors and Marines will take part in, including a visit to the former battleship USS Iowa (BB 61) for shipboard restoration.
Among the six COMREL's that the Anchorage will be hosting, one will be ran by the First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA). Hull Technician 1st Class Brandon Majors, FCPOA president, says that it's vital that people give back to the community.
"COMREL is a genuine way to give back to the American people," said Majors. "When military personnel are present it creates a certain atmosphere. I think people can respect military members that much more when they see them giving back."
The Anchorage will also host a lunch for veterans and workers from the USS Iowa museum, allowing them the opportunity to tour one of the Navy's newest amphibious platform dock ships.
"I'm honored that we have the opportunity to serve the workers from the Iowa and show how the new culinary Sailors in the Navy handle business," said Chief Culinary Specialist Jupiter Bongolan, Supply Department Services leading chief petty officer. "It's a new Navy now, we went to a new healthy way of serving the crew and hopefully they'll enjoy their time onboard."
Many Anchorage Sailors and Marines are looking forward to enjoying some much-needed time off after participating in Rim of the Pacific and the second underway recovery test (URT-2) for NASA Orion program.
Damage Controlman 3rd Class Paul Mercado, from the Damage Control shop and a native to Los Angeles, said it's a great chance for him to bring his home life and military life together.
"I feel great about pulling into Los Angeles on the Anchorage," Mercado said. "I can see my friends and family and take them on board to show them what I do. I've been onboard for nearly three years now and they haven't had a chance to come see what I do, so I'm definitely looking forward to this chance."
Anchorage was built at the Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding site in Avondale, Louisiana and is the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. Delivered to the U.S. Navy on Sept. 17, 2012, the ship was commissioned on May 4, 2013 in the namesake city of Anchorage, Alaska.