By MC2(SW/AW) Ramon Go, USS America (LHA 6) Public Affairs
GUAM – Twenty-eight Sailors and Marines assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit spent some time interacting with the members of a local adult day care for a community service project, Jan. 9.
"We like giving back to the community whenever have the opportunity," said Cmdr. Mike Foskett, America’s command chaplain. "This deployment has provided us with many opportunities to enjoy bi-lateral cultural interaction, and though Guam is a U.S. territory, the people here have a unique and rich culture."
The center is a non-profit organization established in 1979 to serve the elderly, the abused, the homeless and people with disabilities. The adult day care receives volunteers approximately twice a year.
"There has only been one other ship to come volunteer with us in the past year, and when we heard about [you], we were excited," said Doris Peters, nursing assistant supervisor of the adult day care. "We love to have volunteers because the manamko’, which means ‘elderly,’ enjoy seeing and chatting with people from different places."
Each of the volunteers was able to sit with a manamko and exchange stories about their lives and experiences.
"I spoke with someone who used to be a bus driver for the base, and he used to pick up Sailors and Marines [around Guam]," said Lance Cpl. Jose Moreno, a native of Laredo, Texas. "It was great that we were able to find common ground and connect through serving the military in different ways."
Each elder had many stories to tell and the young service members listened intently while they shared their experiences. Sailors and Marines also had the opportunity to participate in arts and crafts projects with the elders which was another way to connect and interact. .
"I volunteered specifically for the adult day care because I believe in taking care of our elders," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Nicole Gatlin, a native of Oakwood, Ohio. "Listening to them will help us make better decisions in life and benefit our future."
America, part of the America Amphibious Ready Group, with embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is operating in the Indo-Asia Pacific region to strengthen partnerships and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.
Seventh Fleet, which celebrates its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet's area of operation
encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the 7th Fleet.
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