USS Champion
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USS Champion Paints Puerta Vallerta “Red”

By Lt. j.g. Grayson Burnette, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Champion (MCM 4), currently deployed to the Eastern Pacific, recently conducted a port visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Although the port is a well-known tourist spot, it wasn't all fun and games. While in port, 11 Sailors from Champion helped a local elementary school renovate their playground.

"We painted 30 play tires with bright colors, two slides, two swing sets, a play area perimeter wall, a flower bed border and a wall area with white wash and sealer," said Champion's Command Chief, Chief Mineman Cecil Fish.

Community relations projects such as the one Champion undertook in Puerto Vallarta has been an important part of the Navy's port visit policy.

"There is no better way to foster camaraderie, friendship and good will between the U.S. Navy and the local community than through this type of program," says Lt. Cmdr. Phil Roos, Champion's commanding officer. "The community opens their door to you, and you get to give something back."

Champion departed Oct. 17 with USS Pioneer (MCM 9) for a six-month deployment to the Eastern Pacific. The ships will operate primarily out of Naval Station San Diego and will support Commander, 3rd Fleet operations and exercises.

They expect to return to their home port of Ingleside, Texas, next spring.

Story Number: NNS021206-02 Release Date: 12/4/2002 9:15:00 AM

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