USS Higgins
First to Fight!
Machinist's Mate Fireman Vance Hutchings, assigned to USS Higgins speaks to eighth-grade students about his Navy career during a
130916-N-ZZ999-008 AGAT, Guam (Sept. 16, 2013) - Machinist's Mate Fireman Vance Hutchings, assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76), speaks to eighth-grade students about his Navy career during a community service project at Oceanview Middle School in Agat, Guam. Sailors partnered with the Guam public school's teachers and administrators to mentor students, discuss the importance of education, training, and career opportunities, and take part in physical education classes. (U.S. Navy photo by Jesse Leon Guerrero/Released)
USS Higgins Mentors Guam Students
By Jesse Leon Guerrero, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs
AGAT, Guam - Forward-deployed Sailors from the destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) volunteered their time to talk with and mentor Guam public school students at Oceanview Middle School in Agat, Guam Sept. 16.

The eight Sailors interacted with more than 100 students discussing topics such as Navy training, deployments, ship duties and other related areas.

"We're helping communities. We're helping countries," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (SW) James Hartley. "We're helping to protect small vessels that are out there. It's not just about us. It's about everyone and keeping the ship safe, keeping the ocean safe."

Hartley said he tries to volunteer as often as he can because he can meet new people, learn new cultures and show the Navy is here to give their support to the local community.

"It's a great way to help out the kids and get our names out so people know we're here to help," he said. "We're not just out on a ship. We're trying to help everybody."

School teacher Neil Pendon said he appreciated having the military at the school, helping him with his class for the day and added that the show of Navy participation in the community is reciprocation of how the community supports the military.

"I like how they come out and spend time here, even though they don't have to," he said. "With a lot of the military, they show their support by going to the schools and doing these things for the students. So it's just like how we show our support for the United States."

Sailors also spent time with the students during their lunch break and took part in physical education classes, showing them some of the exercises required in their physical training.

Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Adam Richards shared his stories with students about serving the nation by helping to keep his ship running smoothly and explained how the ship's Sailors train and study in a variety of ways.

He encouraged the students to stay in school and excel within their education to turn their dreams into a reality.

"Education is so important," Richards said. "The more you know, the more it can help you. All of this comes in handy, even when you least expect it."

USS Higgins is homeported in Naval Base San Diego and has been underway for nearly eight months.
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