TOWNSVILLE, Australia - USS Germantown (LSD 42) and embarked Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Townsville, Australia, for a port visit July 7.
The Sailors and Marines will also participate in Talisman Sabre 2011 (TS11), a bilateral command post and field training exercise designed to maintain a high level of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces.
During the port visit, the crew will have the opportunity to not only shop and participate in several Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities, but lend a helping hand to the local community. The ship's first class petty officer association will sponsor a community relations project at the Cancer Institute and Endeavor, where Sailors and Marines will do yard maintenance and interact with individuals there.
For many Sailors and Marines, this will be their first visit to Australia. Pfc. Christopher Dutzer said he has always wanted to visit Australia and is excited about the visit.
"I'm looking forward to enjoying the sites," he said. "I've had friends who have visited Townsville, and they told me the people are very friendly. I think this will be a unique experience."
For others, this will the first time they've visited Australia in a few years. Culinary Specialist 2nd Class(SW) Caesar Ulsano said he last visited Australia four years ago and is looking forward to the friendly hospitality provided by the locals.
"I had a real good time the last time I visited," he said. "I'm looking forward to making new friends and enjoying the country."
In addition to the 31st MEU, units from Air Craft Unit 5 are embarked aboard Germantown for the exercise. They offer three landing craft air cushions, 15 amphibious assault vehicles, three 7-ton vehicles and several Humvees to support the mission.
Germantown departed Sasebo, Japan, June 24 for TS11. The ship was commissioned Feb. 8, 1986, and is capable of carrying more than 721 Sailors and Marines. It is 610 feet long and can travel at speeds up to 20 knots.