ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (NNS) -- The amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47) arrived in Abu Dhabi for a scheduled port visit, Aug. 25.
The visit, Rushmore's second to Abu Dhabi, will provide Sailors and Marines with the opportunity to go on tours through Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and the chance to experience the local culture and a different side of Abu Dhabi, compared to their previous visit in July.
Cmdr. Thomas Stephens, Rushmore's commanding officer, explained the significant role his Sailors have during this port visit between the United States and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"This truly is a 'liberty as a mission' port visit, as this visit will help strengthen the United States' relationship with UAE," he said. "My crew remains professional and acts as the goodwill ambassadors the United States expects of its armed forces. Additionally, my Sailors work hard, and this is the perfect opportunity for them to relax and unwind a bit before we hit the daily grind again."
Although Rushmore has been at-sea 16 days since their 10-day port visit to Bahrain, many Sailors spent most of their time during that port visit conducting in-port repairs and maintenance as part of the ship's mid-deployment voyage repair period.
"This port visit is going to be a lot more enjoyable for us because all of our major maintenance is complete, and we'll be able to spend more time on personal liberty," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Winston Friedly. "I'm excited to get off the ship and have a break after getting all that work done."
Rushmore is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.