Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) will now be able to connect with their families using the United Through Reading (UTR) program.
The non-profit public benefit organization offers military families a chance to bond using the experience of reading together while being physically separated.
“United Through Reading is a great program that is extremely beneficial to the moral of the crew,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Sumner, the United Through Reading coordinator on Somerset. “By allowing Sailors and Marines to record videos of them reading books and send them home, they can close the gap between them and their families and can make the time away less difficult.”
In the previous year, the UTR website says it was able to serve close to 100,000 beneficiaries in 200 recording locations around the world including 66 Navy commands and 26 Marine Corps commands and libraries.
Marine Capt. Michael Snodgrass, a UTR participant, said being able to be personal while being so far away was very important to him.
“My wife played it for my son and he was glued to the screen,” said Snodgrass. “He was really excited to see it. It has be great for the Sailors and Marines that have older children as well.”
According to the UTR website, seeing a loved one’s face helps children with the bonding process, assures them that their loved ones are okay and helps children learn the rhythm of their Sailor’s or Marine’s voice.
Sumner plans on sending out hundreds of DVDs throughout Somerset’s maiden deployment.
“The crew is already expressing great interest in this program and I look to expand it as much as possible to make sure everyone is accommodated and can participate,” said Sumner. “I truly believe that the UTR program is a much needed morale booster, and a very effective means to keep families connected.”
For more news from USS Somerset (LPD 25), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lpd25/.