CORAL SEA (July 12, 2017) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducts a vertical assault exercise during Talisman Saber 17. Talisman Saber is a biennial U.S.-Australia bilateral exercise held off the coast of Australia meant to achieve interoperability and strengthen the U.S.-Australia alliance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron McCulloch/Released)
Bonhomme Richard Sailors Volunteer for Melbourne Youth COMREL

MELBOURNE, Australia - Sailors, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), participated in a Helping Hoops community relations (COMREL) event at the Richmond Basketball Clinic in Melbourne, Australia, Aug. 31, while in port during a scheduled six-day port visit.

“Helping Hoops” is an independent organization that runs free basketball programs for underprivileged children in Melbourne.

“The main goal is to help kids connect using sports andto teach them skills involving sports, but most importantly to help them connect with their community,” said Adele Glue, a programs officer for the Melbourne Police Department. “It gives them something to look forward to each week as a sort of routine so they can have fun.”

During the event, the Sailors participated in drills and small scrimmages while interacting with the children the basketball court. Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 2nd Class Jose Betances said he enjoyed getting on the court with the kids having grown up playing basketball himself.

“Today has been a lot of fun,” said Betances. “As a kid, I grew up playing basketball, so getting the experience to play basketball with kids in another country is pretty awesome. I feel like we maybe gave some of these less fortunate kids some joy, even if it was just for one afternoon and I really value that.”

Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), was in Melbourne for a scheduled port visit to connect with the community and afford personnel the opportunity to experience Australian culture.

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