SASEBO, Japan - USS Denver (LPD 9) Sailors participated in a cultural exchange event at Sun Home Egami, an assisted living facility, Jan. 11.
Twenty-one Sailors helped to clean and preserve their living quarters and learn local customs while participating in activities that showed the residents a little bit of Navy hospitality.
Operations Specialist 3rd Class Tyler Pace, head of the shipboard community outreach group, said the organization not only serves the community, but builds character and leadership traits that junior Sailors can apply to all aspects of their naval careers.
"Our initiative is about helping people while representing our ship," said Pace. "We've engineered it to maximize leadership development in our Sailors as well."
Upon arrival at Sun Home Egami, Sailors exchanged their steel-toed boots for Japanese slippers known as zori and began cleaning and preserving the facility's grounds. Afterwards, they interacted with the residents and staff by playing games.
"When we were about to leave, there was not one Sailor or resident without a smile on their face," said Pace. "I was really proud to do something like this and I felt that I truly made a difference."
"The event will help further develop a positive image of Americans for local Japanese residents in support of the larger U.S.-Japan alliance," said Lt. Robert Spivey, command chaplain.
Denver is reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald and is part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group.