Bunbury, Australia (NNS) – More than 500 U.S. Sailors and embarked elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard the USS ASHLAND (LSD-48) arrived in Bunbury, Australia on June 25.
“The US and the US Navy has a long standing history and partnership with Australia, as each of our Navies develops and evolves, it is important that common operability between our partners nations evolves as well,” said Cmdr. Daniel P. Duhan, the Commanding Officer of the USS Ashland (LSD-48). “The Australian community has already reached out to Ashland and has been very gracious. By putting a name to a face and a personality, the ties grow stronger between our Navies.”
In addition to rest and relaxation, crew members will volunteer at a community service event at the Bunbury Wildlife Park where service members will help with preservation at the facility.
More than 20 Sailors and Marines will take part in the community service project.
“Ashland and our embarked Marines of the 31st MEU are very much looking forward to our time in Australia, the opportunity to enjoy the country and her people, and for the training opportunity that will follow our port visit.” said Duhan.
The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) representatives for Ashland have also arranged a variety of planned events for Sailors and Marines such as wine tours on the Margaret River, a bicycle tour of vineyards, tours to the Bunbury Wildlife Park and Discovery Centre and a tour to Perth and Fremantle to discover highlights of both regions.
Ashland service members will enjoy the sights and sounds of Bunbury before returning to sea to conduct Talisban Sabre, which is a month-long exercise for U.S and Australian forces to conduct joint operations to test interoperability and refine cooperative procedures.
Ashland is assigned to the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.