USS Halsey
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USS Halsey DDG 97
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By Lt. j.g. Kendra Crabbe, USS Halsey Public Affairs

VICTORIA, Seychelles (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) took part in a number of community relations projects during their Aug. 11-17, port visit to Victoria, Seychelles.

Crew members had the opportunity to work with the Seychelles Coast Guard or volunteer time with the island rehabilitation center or the St. Elizabeth's Orphanage.

At the orphanage, more than 20 Sailors arrived with paint brushes and brooms in tow to sweep, clean and paint the interior of a small chapel.

Project Handclasp, a U.S Navy organization dedicated to facilitating goodwill between service members and people in need supplied an assortment of toys and consumable items for Halsey Sailors to distribute to the children. This marked the third event since Halsey's commissioning in July of 2005 where Project Handclasp materials have been distributed by the crew.

"This was my most rewarding experience during our visit to Seychelles," said Lt. j.g. Katie Lunser, a member of Halsey's helicopter detachment. "I was able to actually help the people of the Seychelles. Interacting with the children at the orphanage made our efforts worthwhile."

Electrician's Mate 1st Class (SW) Dennis Moore and Engineman 3rd Class Christopher Riddle teamed up to replace a pump motor for the Island Rehabilitation Center's physical therapy pool.

"We have the training and experience; we were more than happy to give our time," said Moore.

Additional opportunities to intreact with locals allowed Ensign Peter Schunk and his visit, board, search and seizure team to lead members of the Seychelles Coast Guard through several hours of cooperative idea exchanges that included strategies for tactical movement and weapons handling techniques.

"Both Halsey and the Seychelles Coast Guard members got the opportunity to expand their skill sets. It was a unique and valuable experience," said Schunk.

Halsey's leadership said they enjoyed being able to take part in so many activities that benefited the local community.

"Community relations projects always give back so much more than we put in," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Monroe, Halsey's executive officer. "The event helped strengthen our partnership with an important maritime nation."

Halsey is part of the San Diego-based Peleliu Strike Group which is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to conduct maritime security operations. (MSO).

MSO help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

For more news from USS Peleliu - Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha5/.

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