DARWIN, Australia - Amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9), with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), departed Darwin, Australia, Aug. 26.
Denver's visit to Darwin included some personal time in town, a Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tour and cultural exchange activities.
More than 20 Sailors and Marines visited the Dripstone Middle School, part of the Clontarf Boys academies, Aug. 23 to interact with Aboriginal young men and chat about the much loved games of American and Australian football.
Sailors and Marines first learned the rules and kicks involved with Australian football before proceeding to the field to practice what they'd learned. On the field, the service members also took the opportunity to show the middle-schoolers a bit about American, gridiron football.
"Cultural exchange activities give us the opportunity to interact as well as enhance the partnership [with Australia]," said Lt. Robert S. Spivey, Denver's chaplain. "These events further strengthen the relationship between the United States and Australia."
Another group of Sailors, mostly comprised of Denver's official softball team, participated in exhibition softball games Aug. 24 against Australia's Northern Territory National Men's and Women's teams.
The Sailors played in two games. The first, a 7-5 loss, was a slow-pitch game against the men's team and the second was a mixed team fast-pitch game with members of all three teams.
"I had a great time playing softball," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Troy D. Carter, third baseman for Denver's team. "It was a great interaction between two countries and two great teams, it was a friendly competition."
Denver is part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, commanded by Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, and is currently conducting routine joint-force operations in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.