YIGO, Guam - Twenty volunteers from the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and the guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) took time in port Guam to engage in a community relations (COMREL) event with local school children on Feb. 16.
The event gave Sailors the opportunity to play ultimate frisbee, mountain softball, and basketball with students from Simon A. Sanchez High School. Volunteers also helped Special Olympic students from F. B. Leon Guerrero Middle School to measure run times, throwing ability and long-jump distances.
Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Jason Fortune, from Stockdale, explained how the event was something different for the students and also beneficial for the Sailors aboard both ships.
“It’s a great opportunity to come out and visit the local population,” said Fortune. “These kids get to see us cut loose and have fun, in addition to meeting Sailors from all over the States. It’s not something they get to do very often.” Lt. Stephen Brown, Chaplain for Mobile Bay, organized the event for both ships to take part in as a team effort.
“The cultural awareness events are a great opportunity for our Sailors to be able to see and interact with the locals,” said Brown. “Rather than going downtown, going to the beach, or even interacting with other Sailors, they get a glimpse into the life of these kids here in Guam, and the opportunity to give back to the community and to these amazing children.”
The event enabled shy students to leave their comfort zone to interact with Sailors.
“It gives the kids more contact with the military, and they enjoy that interaction much more than having to listen to a presentation,” said Jim Naholowaa, head coach for the high school.
Austin Remangtow, one of the players for the high school’s basketball team, expressed his excitement about playing with Sailors instead of scrimmaging against his teammates as he usually does.
“It was my first time playing with the military,” said Remangtow. “It felt great; it was like playing with my friends, but on another level. I really hope they come back to visit us again.”
Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Stockdale and Mobile Bay are operating as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.